Top greyhound trainer Paul Hennessy thanking his lucky stars for Heaven Help Us
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed) | 2m, 4yo+ | RTV
This race has been won by some classy mares in recent seasons with the unbeaten and subsequent dual Grade 1-winning Honeysuckle
bolting up 12 months ago, two years after Shattered Love sauntered home in 2016.
Heaven Help Us, who chased home Abacadabras in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, is very much the star of Paul Hennessy's operation and he hopes the dream can continue by adding her name to the illustrious role of honour.
Best known as a top-class greyhound handler who has won the English, Scottish and Irish Derby, Hennessy became something of an internet sensation after Heaven Help Us reduced him to tears when winning at Cheltenham in October.
The man who is used to dining at the top table of the greyhound game is “knocking serious craic” out of seeing his homebred, who was last seen finishing second in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown and is generally competing at a good level this season.
Hennessy said: "She mightn't quicken but she's honest and straightforward – it's a pleasure to train her.
"It's amazing what has happened as she was born and reared here. I know from the greyhound game that a guy can breed a bitch and she can throw a champion.
"I'm not saying she's a champion but she's our champion. It's as good a thrill as I've ever had and that's the truth."
Asked to compare the success he’s enjoyed in greyhound racing to the fun he's experienced with Heaven Help Us, Hennessy added: "We've won the English, Irish and Scottish Greyhound Derby, which was huge, but having a horse like Heaven Help Us is unbelievable as well."
He added: “To win those big greyhound races was a dream, but horseracing is much bigger and I grew up beside Paddy Mullins and would have always had a big interest in horses.
"This is way different running against the established powers and we're lucky the way it's fallen for us."
Owned by John Turner, who has dogs with Hennessy as well as horses such as Buildmeupbuttercup in training with Willie Mullins, Heaven Help Us faces eight rivals, including Ard Abhainn, in this 2m contest.
Hennessy said: "She's easy and straightforward and hopefully we can keep tipping away with her nice and handy.
"It's grand running in those big races when you're 66-1 nobody fancies you but, when you're back in your own grade, I suppose the spotlight is on you a little bit more.
"Hopefully we won't let her down. It would be great if she got placed and that's the intention.
"She's won at Cheltenham and the obvious target would be to head back there for the Mares' Novice Hurdle in March. That would be the dream."
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