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Other SportsConstitution Hill Champion Hurdle bid at Cheltenham in doubt as Henderson awaits...

Constitution Hill Champion Hurdle bid at Cheltenham in doubt as Henderson awaits more tests

A blood test and scope could decide whether Constitution Hill will take place in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 12 after tests taken on Thursday showed “a significant degree of inflammation.”

Nicky Henderson, the trainer of the horse who was a 1/3 favourite to win the race before surprisingly struggling at Kempton on Tuesday, said the blood test “goes quite a long way” to explaining his star runner’s underperformance.

“The figures themselves suggest he is definitely under the weather and we will need to repeat the test on Monday in the hope that the situation improves,” Henderson said in a social media post on Thursday.

“We intend to scope him again tomorrow morning but it appears the blood test is a more conclusive barometer and the one we need to concentrate on.

“This is probably not what we were hoping for but at least it tells us exactly where we are.”

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Constitution Hill: ‘100%’ needed for Champion Hurdle:

Constitution Hill won on his only start this year, in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on December 26.

Henderson initially said the issue was a mild lung infection. Constitution Hill remains odds-on to win the race but is now second-favourite behind State Man.

“It will be very interesting to see the mucus and neutrophil levels when he is scoped again,” Henderson told Sky Sports Racing.

“That will tell us whether this is on the up or down. Horses get these problems, like kids in schools getting colds as there are always bugs around. But he hasn’t coughed at all.

“You can’t get 100% of your team feeling 100% all the time, but it is the timing that is wrong.

“If it was any normal horse you wouldn’t be running on Tuesday week, you would leave him alone for a week or ten days and aim at something else.

“There is something else to aim at for him but there’s only one Champion Hurdle. You have to be 100% for a race like that though.

“We all know it’s going to be a tough race and a horse has to put an enormous amount in. He can put 110% in, unlike most horses, which is the reason he’s as good as he is.

“He’s done all his galloping but will need to do another piece of work in the middle of next week to see where he is – if everything is testing well. He’ll have to do a piece of work and he’d have to be at his best.”

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