Boost for Constitution Hill hopes as ground eases at Ascot


Constitution Hill fans have received a welcome boost with the Ascot Going eased ahead of Nicky Henderson’s star returning this weekend in the Coral Hurdle.

The Seven Barrows handler revealed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner – who is the general 5-4 favourite for next year’s Champion Hurdle – had not seen a hurdle since scoring at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He is one of nine possible runners for the Grade Two Coral Hurdle, over just shy of two and a half miles, and Henderson is keen to see the rain keep falling.

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Nicky Henderson’s star chaser Shishkin (11) finished strongly at Newbury on Tuesday as he joined stablemates Champ (7) and Chantry House (5) for a racecourse gallop.

Henderson’s prayers may well have been answered, with the ground easing to Good to Soft (Good in places) at Ascot following rain on Tuesday afternoon.

“We want this rain to move to Ascot swiftly,” added Henderson, who was speaking at Newbury where he had a number of his string in gallops action.

“I’ve been stood in it since half past six and I am drowned. I’d like it as easy as possible – we had a walkover at Huntingdon the other day and I thought that was wonderful!

“I’ve actually got two others in the race. Call Me Lord won very well at Kempton the other day and the race would suit him well and there’s a lot of prize money on offer.”

Henderson also added that while the weather is an issue, his stable star is in excellent form as he passed the final touches to his Ascot preparations with flying colours.

“He jumped unbelievably,” said Henderson. “I said to Charlie (Morlock, assistant) as he jumped that this is the most uncomplicated horse you could come across.

“He hasn’t seen a hurdle since last season and now we’ve gone to white hurdles that most horses just stop and stare at because they haven’t seen them before. It wouldn’t matter if they were pink ones, yellow ones, green ones or crocodiles in front of them, nothing bothers him.”

He continued: “You went through last year and you couldn’t quite believe what you were seeing and all summer you kept thinking ‘yes it did happen’, but then again some horses don’t train on, or they’re freaks and the freak bits come in and then go out again.

“But he has done three or four bits of work and it is just as frightening as last year. “The only problem I have is I’ve told Michael Buckley (owner) he needs to buy me a couple of pacemakers – I don’t gallop horses with him because it’s unfair on the other horses.”

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