Cheltenham Festival: Nicky Henderson to make Amazing decision after seeing how strong Irish champion Hurdle is | Race News

Coach Nicky Henderson says Spooky’s decision to join superstar stablemate Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham depends on the strength of the Irish challenge.

The master of Seven Barrows is set to be glued to this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival as the best in Ireland’s two-mile hurdles division do battle at Leopardstown.

Stunning looked twice from the shadows of Constitution Hill, before returning to victory in lesser company at the Grade Two Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle in Doncaster last weekend.

She has the option to stay among her own gender at the Festival next month and go up to two and a half miles, a trip she has already proven capable of achieving with her sublime win at Aintree last year.

Henderson joined Sky Sports Racing on Wednesday to take stock of some of his best prospects for Cheltenham…

Constitution Hill (Champion Hurdle – 1/3)

“He’s in good shape. His preparation towards March has started.

“He’s had quite a bit of time off since the Christmas Hurdle and the only thing that’s really happened since then is Spooky went out and won as much as she wanted to, so at least that proves that Constitution Hill was beating something.”

Constitution Hill remains undefeated in five hurdle starts

Amazing (Champion Hurdle – 20/1 or Mares’ Hurdle – 4/1)

“I did not speak to JP [McManus, owner] yet, but she proved that she stayed within two and a half miles at Aintree last year and won very well.

“We are lucky to have Mary’s rock in there [Mares’ Hurdle] too, but she’s also at the Stayers.

“In the Champion, we have Amazing as backup, if Constitution Hill even needs them.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens this weekend with Honeysuckle and State Man [in the Irish Champion Hurdle]. That will tell us a lot and I think the decision on Impressive will be made based on what we see there.”

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Nico De Boinville did not hide his joy when he spoke of Impressive, now 4/1 for the Mares’ Hurdle after his victory in Doncaster.

Jonbon (Arkle – 6/5)

“He is in great shape. He worked yesterday, will go to school tomorrow and is on track for Warwick [Kingmaker Chase].

“He just wants one more run. He’s had a nice little refresher since the Henry VIII and hopefully that will put him right for the Arkle.

“We are going to watch [the Irish Arkle] very carefully, but the good thing is that Constitution Hill and Jonbon don’t have TVs in their boxes, so they won’t know what’s going on.”

Shishkin (Ryanair Chase – 7/1)

“He’s in good shape and we’ve had a little wind surgery. I can’t wait for it [The Ascot Chase].

“From Ascot it happened to Nico [de Boinville, jockey] and myself that he was pretty much flat out the whole way.

“We’re pretty sure he’ll stay, otherwise I’m hopelessly wrong because I didn’t even get him in the Champion Chase. That doesn’t mean we can’t complete Shishkin because he suddenly finds out that he’s still a two-miler but just wasn’t breathing properly. It’s certainly funny how the two-mile split opened up over the weekend.

“What I would love to see him do more than anything is have a race where he can travel in his own comfort zone.”

As for Shishkin’s Cheltenham plans, Henderson added: “I would have thought it would be two and a half years unless something absolutely miraculous happened at Ascot to change our minds. All the doors are open.”

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Coach Nicky Henderson has told Sky Sports Racing that Ryanair Chase is Shishkin’s likeliest destination at the Chelteham Festival after competing at the Ascot Chase this month.

Luccia (mare novice hurdle – 5/2)

“She had a dirty scope when we were trying to run her in the Tolworth, but it’s all cleared up.

“There’s a nice Listed novice hurdle at Exeter on Sunday week and I think that’s probably going to be the port of call.

“I always thought I could have two more races against her, but I don’t find it as easy as I hoped.”

Sky Sports

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button