DORSET connections scored a spectacular one-two in the Mares’ Hurdle as the Cheltenham Festival got under way in glorious sunshine at Prestbury Park.

In what is expected to be her swansong, Honeysuckle, bred in Dorset by the Glanvilles Stud, overhauled Love Envoi, trained by west Dorset handler Harry Fry up the famed Cheltenham hill.

Love Envoi, winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, made all the running until the remarkable Honeysuckle claimed a 17th win from 19 career races.

Earlier, Joe Tizzard’s Oscar Elite, last year a third-placed finisher behind Corach Rambler, claimed fifth place behind the back-to-back winner.

READ MORE: Meet the 15 Dorset runners at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival

Oscar Elite tracked the leaders from stone last before scything through the field to challenge on the home straight, eventually outpaced by the top four.

The Big Breakaway struggled with the pace throughout and was eventually pulled up on the back straight.

Elixir De Nutz is the sole Dorset runner on Wednesday in the Grand Annual Chase (4.50pm).