TRAINER Paul Hennessy has described Cheltenham Festival heroine Heaven Help Us as his “mare of a lifetime” after connections called time on her racing career at the age of nine.
Hennessy’s stable star will be best remembered for a memorable spring in 2021 when bolting up by nine lengths in the Coral Cup under Richie Condon at 33/1, having previously landed the Grade B Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Sporting the colours of John Turner, Heaven Help Us won a total of five races and earned blacktype on seven occasions, including when second in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
“She picked up a small niggle, nothing major, but we’ve decided to call it a day, given the timing of things,” Hennessy told The Irish Field. “We’ve had so much enjoyment and pleasure with her. Really and truly, she’s been beyond our wildest dreams. She’s been our mare of a lifetime.
“We’ll look to find a good stallion and breed from her now. We haven’t nailed down who she’ll be covered by yet. It’s exciting because she’s a gorgeous mare with a beautiful temperament. Probably the most enjoyable part of the Heaven Help Us story was that she loved going racing every bit as much as we did. She really loved it.”
The daughter of Yeats finished second on her two starts in listed mares’ hurdles this season, and excelled herself at Cheltenham.
As well as landing the Coral Cup at Prestbury Park, Heaven Help Us won a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham on her hurdling debut in October 2019, and finished a creditable fourth and sixth in last season’s International Hurdle and Mares’ Hurdle.
“Cheltenham was off the charts for us,” said the dual English Greyhound Derby-winning trainer.
“Funnily enough, after Danny got off from her first piece of work for me in Doninga he said she’s just below Willie [Mullins] and Gordon Elliott’s good ones. It turned out she was pretty much exactly there. It was an amazing ability to gauge that off one piece of work.”