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Constitution Hill shows his class

Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill showed just how good he is when winning the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The five-year-old finished 17 lengths ahead of his stablemate Epatante – herself a two-time Christmas Hurdle winner – to cement his status as the favourite for Cheltenham’s Champion Hurdle in March.

Constitution Hill’s nearest rival, defending champion Honeysuckle, was beaten for the first time in her career in the Hatton Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse last week amidst speculation the high class eight-year-old might not even line up against Henderson’s Seven Barrows superstar at Cheltenham in three months time.

Nicky Henderson at Newbury Racecourse's Coral Gold Cup Day
Nicky Henderson at Newbury Racecourse's Coral Gold Cup Day

That has left some commentators to suggest the race will be little more than a procession for Constitution Hill, although Henderson certainly isn’t getting carried away and instead remains focused on the possibility of another run between now and then.

The six-time champion trainer all but ruled out the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in January but admitted the Irish Champion Hurdle at the beginning of February is now under consideration.

“That was only his fifth race and again it was everything you’d hoped for,” Henderson told Sky Sports.

“I know everybody wants to see him, but where can you go? I don’t think Wincanton is the right place for him and Haydock certainly isn’t in my opinion - but he doesn’t need to and there’s no point doing something you don’t need to do.

"Let's just have a look and see. It's either Ireland or nothing I'd say.

“He was having a nice time - he’s quick and fast and accurate and at the moment there’s no chinks in that armour because he’s got such a great mind.

“He was on his toes today actually which was more than I’ve seen before, but he’s so relaxed at home and Shauna who rides him every day has done a brilliant job with him.

“The horse is just cool and that’s the only word you can call him - he’s cool and talented!"

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