HONEYSUCKLE went out in a blaze of glory after winning a thrilling Mares' Hurdle under Rachael Blackmore.
There was barely a dry eye in the house as the dual Champion Hurdle winner won arguably the race of the week in her final appearance at Cheltenham Festival.
It was a particularly poignant win for trainer Henry de Bromhead – whose son Jack tragically died last year aged 13.
Speaking on ITV, AP McCoy paid tribute to Jack and said he would have been looking down on his dad during another brilliant moment.
The legendary champion jockey said: "This was meant to happen and little Jack was looking down. He played a part in it."
"I've never seen Henry emotional like that."
Speaking of what Honeysuckle had meant to his career, De Bromhead, whose voice was choking up, said: "It means a hell of a lot to all of us.
"She's just an incredible mare. She's awesome.
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"We've had so much fun with her.
"It's been an amazing few years and we're very lucky to have had her.
"It's been a really tough year and just to finish with her like that is incredible. It's pinch-yourself stuff.
"Wherever we go, the support is just unbelievable. It's just amazing how supportive people are.
"We have brilliant friends and family – it's really tough but we're lucky a lot of people in our situation don't have that support.
"She's an incredible mare. We'll never have another one like her."
This was Honeysuckle's fourth straight win at the Festival, with another Mares' Hurdle win bookending both Champion Hurdle victories.
Blackmore said: "We all wish a very special kid could be here today but he's watching down on us.
"He's unbelievable, the way Henry has produced her every day is phenomenal.
"She's just a phenomenal mare and has been amazing for my career.
"She's just a credit to everyone. Kenny (Alexander, owner) is one of the coolest owners you'll ever ride for."
Honeysuckle won by a length-and-a-half from 11-1 Love Envoi, who led every step of the way until half a furlong out.
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Queens Brook, a 16-1 chance for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell came third while 9-1 Echoes In Rain was fourth.
Honeysuckle retires with 17 wins from 19 races and more than £1.4million in prize money.
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