Watch emotional moment Honeysuckle leaves Henry de Bromhead yard for final time as retired life begins | The Sun
THIS was the moment Honeysuckle departed Henry de Bromhead's yard for the final time today.
The superstar mare wrapped up her racing career with a triumphant run in the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier this month.
It was arguably the highlight of the Festival, with trainer De Bromhead overcome with emotion in the winners' enclosure.
The Irish maestro received an incredible ovation from punters on-course with the popular trainer having the backing of everyone there following his son Jack's death from a racing accident last year.
Honeysuckle suffered defeats at Fairyhouse in December then at Leopardstown five weeks before Cheltenham.
Calls came at that stage to retire the mare, who had given Rachael Blackmore and owner Kenny Alexander countless days of joy and success – not to mention nearly £1.5million in prize money.
But the decision was made to run her in 'one final hurrah' at Cheltenham, with the Mares' Hurdle providing an emotional win.
Just a fortnight since that win, Honeysuckle is moving onto the 'next chapter' as she heads for Rathmore Stud to enjoy her retirement.
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A video posted on De Bromhead's twitter showed Honeysuckle being loaded into a box, before she gives one final glimpse back at the yard that's looked after her so well.
Punters were quick to flock to social media to wish her well in the next stage of her life.
One tweeted: "That lingering look back. Almost as if she knew it was goodbye."
Another said: "An amazing racehorse Henry a very sad but proud moment. Thanks for the memories."
While a third added: "The horse of a lifetime. I wish her many more happy years."
A fourth was looking ahead to the future by adding: "She looks incredibly beautiful here. It must be a sad day for you all but also happy knowing what you all achieved together. Cannot wait to see little Honeysuckles!!"
De Bromhead opted not to send her for a third consecutive Champion Hurdle.
He admitted she was always going to run if she didn't give them a reason not to, but admitted any discussion on a Champion Hurdle was taken well before the Festival.
He said: “Kenny [Alexander] is pretty good on form and he kept saying that her form this year would be good enough to win nine out of the last ten Mares’ Hurdles.
"He felt that the one she maybe wouldn’t have won on her form this season was the one when she beat Benie Des Dieux, so he was keen to go for it, and in the end he was right.
“The deal was that if she gave us any reason to not go, we weren’t going to go. We weren’t forcing anyone to do it and to see her go out like that was special.
“For me, the debate was over when I saw Constitution Hill win at Newcastle in November. We could beat Epatante four or five lengths and he beat her by 12 in the Fighting Fifth.
"Maybe after the Supreme you wondered if they had gone too fast, although the time was always there in fairness, but once he backed it up at Newcastle you could see how good he was.
“I was just so impressed by him I felt we were going to struggle to beat him, so that’s when the Mares’ Hurdle came back into it.”
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