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Everything is possible’ for Constitution Hill ahead of Aintree Festival
Trainer Nicky Henderson has hinted that Constitution Hill’s very first appearance at the Randox Grand National festival where he will line-up in the William Hill Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) could well be his last outing over hurdles.
The superstar of jumps racing, Constitution Hill, will head to Aintree Racecourse on Merseyside fresh from his triumph in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, trainer Nicky Henderson hopeful of schooling him over fences in the next few days.
The six-year-old will make the step up in trip to two and a half miles for the very first time and hopes are high that the Michael Buckley-owned runner can add to the handler’s five victories in the Aintree Hurdle.
Speaking of what the future might hold for Constitution Hill, 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.”
When asked whether he will soon be making a decision as to whether to go chasing next season or stay with hurdles, the trainer explained: “It’ll certain 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 too quickly, we’ll school him over fences here (at Seven Barrows) and that’ll give us an idea.
“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.”