Matt Chapman: Will Constitution Hill win the Gold Cup? Not ruling out a future beyond the fences... (2023)

RUN superstar Constitution Hill could be aiming for a sunrise run, even if he's a March hurdler hero.

Dawn Run has gone down in history as the most successful mare runner of all time, having won the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and continuing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup two years later with Jonjo O'Neill.

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The feat is unprecedented and saw the Paddy Mullins-trained legend score over the rapid two miles and then the grueling Gold Cup distance of three extended miles and two furlongs.

Constitution Hill's connections leave open every possibility for his future, in stark contrast to what we've seen on the Flat with Flightline, who was recognized this week as one of the best horses we've seen on the Flat, but stopped after just six races.

Flightline is rated 140, just like Frankel.

BANDA LILA (2,47 Lingfield)

He looks like he's 5-1 for one spot and I think he can easily go better for coach Charlie Fellowes after only taking a slap to the neck last time out.


Of course, a show jumping capon and a flat horse worth $200,000 each at Stallion don't really compare when it comes to how they're used. We have to be realistic.

American sensation Flightline won all six of his races by over half a dozen lengths and his career ended with an impressive victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland.

It's hard to know what else he could have done besides defeat future generations. He was a world unto himself.

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So how lucky are we that a man like Michael Buckley owns Constitution Hill? Much is the answer.

Constitution Hill, managed by Nicky Henderson, is currently 1-3 1-4 to claim the Unibet Champion Hurdle on March 14.

Brilliant and unbeaten, last year's supreme novice hurdle winner returned this season with a fantastic win in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and an equally impressive run around Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

In short, he seems to be in a different league than his opponent, even with the undiscovered Statesman and Vauban still having a lot to show us, and arguably better than anything that came before.

Buckley and Henderson were busy yesterday, noting that no talks have taken place to plan a long-term future for their star.

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But Buckley has expressed a desire to consider the 'Dawn Run' route, telling me: "We'll see how this season goes first, but I told Nicky at Kempton on Boxing Day that it might be fun to do that train horse over fences at the end. del año.

"Just a few fences from school to see how he manages. But that's for the summer when I expect him to win something."

Henderson is prepared for this, too, and as a good friend of Buckley's, it will be a joint decision.

The coach said: “The big decision comes in the summer and we have to decide if we are going to move to the fence.

“The plan at the moment is to go to Cheltenham and then Aintree.

"But we wouldn't go to Punchestown unless we had to miss Aintree for some reason, there just isn't enough time between Liverpool and Ireland. But we hope to go up two and a half miles in the Aintree Hurdle."

"Even if he were to win outright at Cheltenham and Aintree, we wouldn't be going to Ireland.

“If you remember, we did all three with Sprinter Sacre after I promised Punchestown we'd go there.

“I remember Barry Geraghty saying we had 100% sprinters for Cheltenham, then 85% for Aintree and 70% for Punchestown.

“The thing about these horses is that they never have easy races, even when they try to win easily.

“When you break race records, you have to give 110 percent and that's why these horses are better than the others.

“When these good horses win at the reins, it's because they give it their all. But a lot is required of them mentally."

Many are taking the easy way out under the circumstances, which in this case would mean Constitution Hill would look to defend its champion crown with hurdles in 2024, should it succeed this time.

But Henderson added: “It will be a joint call with Michael. But it's not just about doing the easy thing.

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“Remember we could have held Altior in the hurdles and he probably would have won three hurdle championships if we had done that. But we let him hunt.

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Let's hope Constitution Hill has the constitution for the biggest hurdles. But he directs James Bond with a license to thrill.

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