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Henderson unlikely to risk Constitution Hill in Unibet International but insists Jonbon is set for Clarence House clash with El Fabiolo





Constitution Hill produced a typically dominant performance on his belated seasonal reappearance in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, winning by nine-and-a-half lengths.

Henderson had hinted he could send the star seven-year-old to Cheltenham Trials Day to run in the Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle ahead of his Champion Hurdle defence in March, although the trainer insists he won't risk another run unless he's absolutely sure it's worthwhile.

He said: "His reputation is such that, unless he produces something absolutely spectacular, people will say it's a flop - luckily for us, he doesn't seem to do flops.

Nicky Henderson admitted he won’t risk Constitution Hill in the Unibet International unless he’s certain it’s worthwhile. Picture by Steven Cargill
Nicky Henderson admitted he won’t risk Constitution Hill in the Unibet International unless he’s certain it’s worthwhile. Picture by Steven Cargill

"He was brilliant, I've hardly ever seen anything like it. He was going as fast to the second last as a sprinter, not a horse at the end of two miles. Nico (de Boinville) said he's never, ever been at a hurdle so fast. He was extraordinary, you can't fault him.

"I've certainly reservations about it (the Unibet International). He's gone from the Christmas Hurdle to the Champion Hurdle without a race, and he did the same the year before with the Supreme.

"I'm not desperate really. I know I'll be accused of being a wimp, but there are reasons behind my thinking. I'm doing it for the best; I'm not doing it for my own amusement.

"I'd like to run him if it makes perfect sense but I'm not convinced it does."

Henderson also teased the suggestion that Jonbon, who won the Shloer Chase in November and the Tingle Creek last month, could be set to renew his rivalry with the Willie Mullins-trained El Fabiolo some eight weeks before the two meet in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Henderson, who was been crowned champion jumps trainer six times, insists he still plans on running the eight-year-old, whose last defeat came to El Fabiolo in the Arkle, in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 20; with El Fabiolo also entered in the Grade 1 contest, it could mean the two face off much earlier than expected.

Henderson said: "It's our intention to go there at the moment, and apparently it's theirs as well. It depends if anyone's going to crack.

"I'm happy with him, he schooled on Saturday and he's in good form. We're very happy with him."



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