Where to start with last week’s Cheltenham Festival? It was the usual rollercoaster ride of emotion. The lows were there for some connections but the peaks were arguably as high as they’ve ever gone before – highlighted by a golden hour on Tuesday that set the enclosures alight.

That set a high bar for the atmosphere all week and generally the tone was one of joyous appreciation for the sport in its best guise.

Ireland dominated again but rather than Willie Mullins providing the bulk of winners, the spread was healthier, with some smaller stables showing that it can be done at the highest level.

Among the Mullins sextet were two superb performers, Energumene in the Champion Chase and Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup.

They will be back next year when the trainer will be odds-on to hit a century of Festival winners – a remarkable feat. Here are five things to take from the Festival.

1 The moment

Honeysuckle’s tremendous will to finish her wonderful career with a win in the Mares’ Hurdle – where it all began at the Festival for her. Not at her best this year, she still hasn’t lacked for toughness and showed all of that trait and more to get the better of the younger Love Envoi, in front of a rapturous crowd.

With everything that has happened to the de Bromhead family, it’s hard to remember a winner at Cheltenham more appreciated than this.

2 The performance

Constitution Hill was simply sublime in the Champion Hurdle. State Man came into the race as a triple Grade 1 winner this season but a nine-length distance between him and Nicky Henderson’s horse was flattering – this easily could have been 19 lengths because Nico de Boinville barely moved a muscle. This is a sensational racehorse who has the ability to really do something truly special in his career.

3 The jockey

Tony McCoy lavished praise on Paul Townend’s winning ride on Galopin Des Champs but we need a bit of context here – Townend is a serial winner at Cheltenham and his horse eventually won comfortably.

That wasn’t the case for Liam McKenna on Good Time Jonny in the Pertemps Final. Last at the top of the hill and no better than 12th going to the last, McKenna could not have timed his run any better for his first ever win at the Festival. Eighteen-year-old John Gleeson proved admirably cool in the saddle as well when producing A Dream To Share to win the Champion Bumper.

4 The spread

Ireland won the battle against Britain 18-10 for the second year in a row but in contrast to last season, when Willie Mullins provided 10 of the away team wins, there was a much healthier spread of success. Mullins scored six times last week but there were eight other winning Irish trainers. Colm Murphy, Tony Martin, Sam Curling, Barry Connell, John McConnell and the 85-year-old John Kiely all delivered. On the British side, it was pleasing to see Paul Nicholls back with two big winners.

5 The disappointments

Davy Russell likely won’t look back at this week with any great fondness. A bad week began when his decision to come out of retirement was questioned by Michael O’Leary, which Russell frankly replied to on Thursday morning. The Cork native hit the crossbar multiples times with three seconds and four thirds and then he missed his Gold Cup ride on Conflated, with Gordon Elliott reporting that he was sore. Mighty Potter was one of the Russell near misses. From an equine point of view, he was probably the most disappointing horse of the week – well below the levels reached coming into the Festival