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Constitution Hill Team Turn Down Honeysuckle Clash at Punchestown

Connections of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Constitutional Hill have decided against running their horse at the Punchestown Festival in the Grade One Champion Hurdle. 

The novice hurdler won in impressive style at the Cheltenham Festival, which led to his team hinting that they were considering a trip to Ireland, however, their horse will now be given a rest ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

It means a meeting with dual Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle may have to wait until the premier hurdle contest next March. Constitutional Hill is the 2/1 favourite in the Cheltenham Festival betting for the race on day one of the meeting, with the defending champion next best at 7/2.

Nicky Henderson’s runner is unbeaten over hurdles, while his time in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was six seconds faster than what Honeysuckle clocked in the Champion Hurdle. The first season hurdler is already proving to be one of the early Cheltenham Festival tips for the meeting in 2023.

The five-year-old has prevailed by a large margin in all three of his hurdles appearances this season, making him one of the leading novices in the UK and Ireland. His jockey Nico de Boinville described him as being “a special horse” after he got off him at Cheltenham in his latest appearance on the track.

Jonbon Has Boosted the Form of Supreme Success

Constitution Hill’s stablemate Jonbon came home second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He was 22 lengths behind the winner when he crossed the line. The Seven Barrows runner has since come out and won a Grade One contest, as he prevailed in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

That victory at the highest level will have delighted Henderson, as not only does it prove Jonbon is a very good horse, it also boosts the form of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Many pundits suggested it was one of the strongest renewals of the novice race in many years, and that could prove to be the case.

Another horse who ran in the Supreme and has since prevailed is Silent Revolution. He was pulled up in the Festival curtain-raiser, however, he bounced back from that disappointment to score at Chepstow in a novice hurdle contest.

Henderson Knows What it Takes to Win a Champion Hurdle

No trainer in history has won the Champion Hurdle more times than Henderson. He has been successful on eight occasions, with Epatante being his latest winner in 2020. The former Champion Trainer will be hopeful of extending his record next year.

See You Then, Punjabi, Binocular, Buveur D’Air and Espoir D’Allen have all prevailed in the 2m contest for Henderson. The Seven Barrows man will have a good idea about how his latest star compares to those horses at this stage of his career.

The competition to Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle in 2023 could also include Vauban and Sir Gerhard. They were the winners of the Triumph Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle respectively at the 2022 Festival. If all four horses did line up, it would be a very strong renewal of the Championship race.

The 2023 Champion Hurdle is scheduled for the 14th of March and it is a date racing fans will already have marked in their diaries, as it could be a race to savour. 

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