With 2022 on the horizon, horse racing fans are already gearing up for next year’s Cheltenham Festival to be held in March. As with every year, jockeys and fans alike will be hoping their favourite horse arrives to the event in tiptop shape, and with over three months remaining before it kicks off there is plenty of time to sharpen up.
One horse whose fans would love if Cheltenham Festival kicked off tomorrow is Honeysuckle. November’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle win has her fans full of confidence that she will defend the Champion Hurdle title that she won at Cheltenham in 2021.
The Irish trained thoroughbred is unbeaten in 13 races, and such consistent dominance means she will certainly be the horse to beat at the 2022 Edition of Cheltenham Festival. According oddschecker’s horse racing tips, she is the clear favourite, which many will see as fair considering her recent performances. In fact, this impressive run of form dates all the way back to the 7-year-old’s 2018 debut at Fairyhouse, where she burst on to the scene with an impressive victory in a field of nine.
Jockey Rachael Blackmore, the first female winner of the Grand National, who has ridden Honeysuckle to victory in all of her races so far, will be confident that the duo will continue their fine form.
At the time of writing Honeysuckle has only been entered for the Leopardstown Matheson Hurdle in Ireland before Cheltenham. While she’ll be expected to win this event too, it will also serve as a good warm up event before a pre-Cheltenham rest.
6-year-old Ferny Hollow is expected to be one of the main rivals to Honeysuckle’s crown, however, having not raced in 2021 until December, he is not expected to be in the best form going into Cheltenham. While March’s Champion Hurdle may come to soon for him, he will certainly be a threat later in 2022.
Irish-trained Buzz is a challenger that will go into the race full of confidence after consecutive wins at Newmarket and Ascot, which followed a second place at Aintree. The Newmarket victory was particularly impressive as it was won from a packed field of 32.
Black Tears is another strong contender that has enjoyed victories in 2021, winning at both Punchestown and Cheltenham in March. She is ridden by Jack Kennedy, who became one of the youngest jockeys to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup as an 11/1 outsider in 2021. He’ll be confident of causing another upset in 2022.