HONEYSUCKLE delivered a "fairytale" win with another imperious performance to retain the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The marvellous mare was bred in Dorset at the Glanvilles Stud near Sherborne and is now unbeaten in 15 races.

Successful behind closed doors 12 months ago, the Henry de Bromhead-trained chsarge gave the huge crowd plenty to cheer about as she powered up the hill to join the elite hand of dual winners in the hands of Rachael Blackmore.

Appreciate It, having his first race since winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on this day last year, made the running with Not So Sleepy for company until Honeysuckle made her move and jumped to the front at the second-last flight.

The 8-11 favourite set sail for home and though challenged by Nicky Henderson’s 2020 winner Epatante (16-1), she was too good and went on to score by three-and-a-half lengths. Zanahiyr (28-1) was a length away in third place.

READ MORE: Meet the 17 Dorset runners at the Cheltenham Festival 2022

Honeysuckle received a rapturous reception following her victory, with De Bromhead delighted to see the public pay the mare her due respect.

He said: “It’s better than last year, obviously, with the crowd here, with Kenny (Alexander, owner) and (his wife) Caroline, with everybody. It’s amazing. It’s like a never-ending fairytale – just incredible.

“I just really hoped she could get that Cheltenham roar and it’s fantastic that she’s got it.

“She got it in the Mares’ (Hurdle in 2020), but for this as she missed out last year. It’s brilliant for everybody, our team, just everybody.

“Rachael was obviously sublime and I can’t believe it – as usual!

“She’s amazing and we’re so lucky to have her.”