CHELTENHAM NOTEBOOK: Honeysuckle fairytale 'should be Netflix series'

CHELTENHAM NOTEBOOK: Honeysuckle’s fairytale ending ‘should be Netflix series’, Faivoir thrills Princess Royal and Mary Berry but actor James Nesbitt is out of luck 

  • Honeysuckle’s glorious victory in the Mares’ Hurdle tugged at the heartstrings 
  • Princess Royal and Mary Berry chatted away before the County Hurdle on Friday
  • Click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival news, schedule and race results

No story tugged at the heartstrings more this week than Honeysuckle’s glorious victory in the Mares’ Hurdle. 

Owner Kenny Alexander, whose filly Gala Marceau finished second in the Triumph Hurdle, had a wry smile when asked how he had spent the last few days.

‘Drinking and dancing,’ came the reply, with Alexander adding Honeysuckle’s bouncing demeanour since returning to Ireland was a little fresher than his own.

And what a special mare Honeysuckle has been. 

Her last-gasp success, in her final race for trainer Henry de Bromhead, was so remarkable that it wouldn’t have looked out of place in a movie. And the idea that her story might end up on screen is not so far-fetched.

Honeysuckle’s glorious victory in the Mares’ Hurdle tugged at the heartstrings

‘Netflix should make the series!’ said Alexander.

‘It was a fairytale, wasn’t it? She did the business, as I thought she would. I’ve still not come down to earth.’

Faivoir thrills Princess and Berry

Among the many conversations in the Cheltenham parade ring, there was none more intriguing than the one between the Princess Royal and Mary Berry, the queen of cookery, who chatted away as the runners filed around before the County Hurdle.

Both were thrilled to see Bridget Andrews ride the 33-1 winner Faivoir.

Thyme up for Harry

Plenty of judges thought Harry Cobden had seen a winner slip from his grasp on Wednesday after his mount, Thyme White, tumbled when seemingly travelling like a good thing. 

Fresh after winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on Stay Away Fay, Cobden was happy to put to bed the theory he’d been unlucky. 

‘You might have thought he was travelling well,’ said Cobden. ‘I’m not sure we were going to get up the hill.’ There you have it. 

One huge point to conclude — and the best result of all. No equine fatalities on Friday, even though there were some crashing falls. 

Malinello, sadly, was the only horse during the four days not to return home. 

Nesbitt out of luck

Actor James Nesbitt was out of luck with A Plus Tard at Cheltenham on Friday 

James Nesbitt comes alive at the Festival and his horse Riverside Theatre gave him two of the greatest days of his life when winning the Ryanair Chase in 2012 and 2013.

This is something Notebook can tell you with certainty!

Nesbitt hosted the Ballon d’Or awards in Zurich in 2016 and spent two hours after it with a couple of us talking everything Cheltenham. 

He had no luck on Friday, having backed A Plus Tard, but he’ll be back — as will we.

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