'It could be last hurdles run' – Nicky Henderson hints Constitution Hill's future lies over fences ahead of Aintree run | The Sun
NICKY HENDERSON has hinted that the future lies over fences for star hurdler Constitution Hill.
The six-year-old maintained his 100% record with a runaway win in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
After the race, the debate immediately began over whether he should stay over timber or switch to the bigger obstacles in the 2023-24 season.
The wonder horse is currently being readied for the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle on April 13 on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.
All being well, the horse will be given a schooling session over fences at Hendo's Seven Barrows yard before having a summer break.
The trainer will then spend a few weeks mulling his decision with the horse's owner, Michael Buckley, before a potential novice chasing campaign ending up in the Arkle next March.
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But he admitted that the Aintree Hurdle could be Constitution Hill's final start over hurdles.
Henderson said: “It’s possible Aintree could be his last run over hurdles. Everything is possible.
“There are more opportunities over fences to start with, which would lead to the Arkle and the Champion Chase or maybe even the Gold Cup if he stays.
"A real superstar is horse that can adapt to everything.
“It’ll all happen after Aintree. Michael was down here the other day and we said what we would probably try and do is, about 10 days after Aintree, if the ground hasn’t dried up, we’ll school him over fences and that’ll give us an idea.
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“Then we have the whole summer to sit down and discuss but if we’ve had one look at him schooling over fences Nico will know, and Michael and I will know, pretty well what are the options then.
“If he’s very, very good we’ve got two options. If he’s very, very bad – which is unlikely but anything is possible – his hurdling and his way of crossing a hurdle is very, very effective but you can’t do that over fences.
“He’s got to learn to jump rather than hurdle. It could be that he’s got totally the wrong technique, I don’t know. But I’d be very surprised.
"He’s such an intelligent horse that I think he’ll soon realise, probably by actually just rubbing a fence, that he’ll say ‘oh wow, somebody’s raised the bar and now we’ll do something about it’.
"It’ll probably take him one mistake to work it out and a lot of sensible horses will work it out.”
Constitution Hill is already the 4-1 favourite with Coral for the Arkle in 2024 – while he is 4-6 for the Champion Hurdle.
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