Constitution Hill: Racing star to stay over hurdles

Constitution Hill ridden by Nico de Boinville
Constitution Hill has won all seven of his starts over hurdles

Constitution Hill will be aimed at another Champion Hurdle win this season, says trainer Nicky Henderson.

He was described as ‘the horse of a generation’ after winning the big race at Cheltenham by nine lengths in March.

Henderson had previously said his stable star could switch to fences.

“After a lot of deliberating and a lot of advice from everybody in the world, because everybody wants a piece of this, he is going to stay over hurdles,” he said.

Constitution Hill has won all seven of his starts over hurdles, by an aggregate of 89 lengths, but was tried over the larger obstacles with a view to going steeplechasing.

His owner Michael Buckley had previously said he dreamed of his horse emulating Dawn Run 37 years ago by winning the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup.

“At the end of the day I don’t think it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. People will ask if we’ve schooled him over fences and why have we come to this decision,” said Henderson.

“He would jump fences with his eyes shut, if we wanted him to, but the basis of the decision was we had to be 100 per cent sure that he would stay three and a quarter miles [in the Gold Cup].

“There was nothing to be gained by switching to fences by running in an Arkle, Champion Chase and possibly a Ryanair, great races though they are, but the Champion Hurdle is the Champion Hurdle, so if you are going to run in anything you might as well stick to what you know.

“I dare say there will be plenty of people saying this is unimaginative, but there was no doubt in [jockey] Nico’s [De Boinville] mind, stamina was likely to be a major issue and the only point in doing it was if one felt he could become a Gold Cup horse.

“For all three of us the decision was unanimous. You might say why did it take three months, but we all felt it was the right decision.”

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