Adagio looking to quicken things up against Honeysuckle at Punchestown

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The thought of re-opposing the mighty Honeysuckle is a daunting one for a trainer of any vanquished horse but David Pipe is hopeful his Adagio can give the wondermare a race in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

The pair went up against each other in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham with Henry De Bromhead's Honeysuckle destroying Pipe's Adagio, who trailed home in eighth at Prestbury Park.

Yet, Pipe reckons Adagio is in with a squeak of some prize money after winning three of his nine starts over hurdles and finishing runner-up on another five occasions.

Pipe said: "The plan is to run. There is lots of prize money on offer. He goes there a relatively fresh horse and obviously Honeysuckle is the one they all have to beat. The prize money means we will give it a go."

Adagio did win the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in January last year before creditable efforts in finishing runner up in both the Triumph Hurdle and the Anniversary 4-Y-0 Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.

Still only five-years-old, it's not beyond the realms of possibility for Adagio to come on and Pipe is keen to get more Grade 1 experience on his C.V.

Pipe added: "Adagio is very nice and he is a young horse, but it is like being a scratch golfer and a professional - there is a big gap. He can be competitive in these races, but unfortunately we are in the era of Honeysuckle. "Then we'll have Constitution Hill to worry about soon! But it is nice to have a horse that can run in these type of races and we'll head to Punchestown and give it a whirl."

Other top entries in the two mile Grade 1 contest include Nicky Henderson's Epatante, Gordon Elliott's Zanahiyr and Willie Mullins' Saint Roi.

Elliott will be hoping for a better run for his Teahupoo who finished dead last in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, while Paul Nicholls sends Monmiral as an outsider who will have to put up a show to get into the places. Henderson looks to have swerved the chance to take on Honeysuckle with his talented Constitution Hill and racing fans will have to wait for that particular head-to-head.

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