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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Other SportsConstitution Hill ruled out of Cheltenham Festival

Constitution Hill ruled out of Cheltenham Festival

Constitution Hill has been ruled out of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, his trainer Nicky Henderson has confirmed.

Concerns were first raised about last year’s Champion Hurdle winner when he performed poorly in a training exercise at Kempton last week.

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It was discovered the seven-year-old had a mild lung infection which was displayed in excessive mucus.

A blood test performed this morning confirmed he was still some way short of full fitness, leaving Henderson with little option but to pull him from the festival and rule him out of defending his Champion Hurdle crown.

In a statement on X, Henderson said: “Very sadly we are going to have to admit defeat in the battle to get Constitution Hill ready for the Champion Hurdle and therefore have to declare that he will not be running there this year.

“He has undoubtedly improved over the weekend and seems noticeably brighter than he was at the end of last week and I really did thing he was much perkier when ridden this morning. Unfortunately, the all-important blood test shows that although the figures have also improved they are quite a way from being satisfactory for a horse to commence serious training and to race in a week’s time.

“There are three significant markers on the blood test all of which have come down since Thursday’s sample but are still raised enough to indicate that he has not fully recovered from whatever was ailing him.

“The only way to continue the improvement is not to stress him and he obviously cannot run in these Olympic Games if he’s not trained sufficiently.

“This is very sad for all of us and particularly Michael (Buckley, owner) but it is in everybody’s best interests that we ensure we have a fit and healthy Constitution Hill to win back his crown next year.”

Constitution Hill was a heavy odds-on favourite to win the Champion Hurdle before news of his ailment cropped up. In his absence, State Man is the new favourite with some bookmakers pricing him as low as 2/5.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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