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Walsh believes Constitution Hill can be beaten while also backing Willmount as one of his horses to watch this season

Ruby Walsh, the third most prolific British and Irish jump racing jockey of all time, has told Racing TV that he believes Constitution Hill can be beaten.

Walsh also picked out Willmount as one of his horses to follow after an impressive hurdling debut at Newbury for six-time champion trainer Nicky Henderson.

Constitution Hill became the darling of British racing following an incredible season in which he won four Grade 1s, reducing Henderson to tears after storming to victory by a staggering nine lengths in the Champion Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival.

Nicky Henderson congratulates Willmount after his impressive hurdling debut. Picture by Phil Cannings
Nicky Henderson congratulates Willmount after his impressive hurdling debut. Picture by Phil Cannings

After Henderson put speculation that he might send the unbeaten six-year-old chasing to bed in September, it looks likely the Seven Barrows superstar will follow a similar path this campaign, making his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle's Fighting Fifth on December 2.

With 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante – who was second to Constitution Hill twice last year – retired, Constitution Hill's likeliest potential conqueror will probably come from over the Irish Sea and from the yard of Willie Mullins.

State Man was second in the Champion Hurdle in March, but has nine lengths to gain on Henderson's star, while Impaire Et Passe was one of last season's most exciting novice hurdlers. Even so, the five-year-old has a lot of improving to do if he's to mount a serious challenge.

And while Walsh admits it feels like a tall order, he doesn't believe Constitution Hill is unbeatable.

"Of course they can beat him, any horse can," he told Racing TV.

"Is it likely? Probably not, but people are always going to have a go at him.

"People always had a go at Kauto Star, always had a go at Big Buck's, Hurricane Fly and they will always have a go at Constitution Hill. Eventually they all got beaten too.

"He's a great horse, the flagbearer for English National Hunt racing but look, the Irish are coming for him."

Meanwhile, one of Henderson's newest stable stars, Willmount, lived up to his big billing when winning by 13 lengths on his debut over hurdles for his new yard at Newbury last week.

The five-year-old won two bumpers at Doncaster for Bath-based trainer Neil Mulholland before owner Olly Harris opted to move the £340,000 Blue Bresil gelding to Lambourn in August.

And Walsh, who is an ambassador for Racing TV, has picked Henderson's new recruit as one of his horses to watch for the season ahead.

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