Unbeaten novice hurdler Constitutional Hill goes into the 2022 Cheltenham Festival with a big reputation, and he will get the chance to showcase his talent again when he lines up in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson’s runner has been very impressive in both of his two appearances under Rules so far. He prevailed by 14 lengths on his debut at Sandown back in December, while more recently, he scored at the highest level, with victory coming in the Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle. Constitutional Hill is the 11/4 favourite in the Cheltenham 2022 betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. That’s a position he has held since his success in the Grade One event where he did not look to lack any experience.
It is also no surprise that the Seven Barrows runner is one of the leading Cheltenham betting tips for the festival curtain-raiser as his trainer labelled his horse’s performance last time out as ‘extraordinary”. It’s a word Henderson does not use very often.
Henderson’s Record in Supreme
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is a race in which former Champion Trainer Henderson has won four times before, so he knows what it takes to come out on top. His first success came back in 1986 when River Ceiriog prevailed. Six years after his first win in the novice hurdle contest, Henderson was back in the winner’s enclosure with Flown.
More recently, Henderson has won the race without a couple of superstar horses. Altior was victorious in 2016 before going on to be very dominant over fences. The recent signs suggest his 2020 winner Shishkin could also be a special chaser, as he remains unbeaten over the biggest obstacles. A victory this year would see Henderson take a step closer to the record, which is held by Willie Mullins, for the most wins as a trainer in the race with seven.
Jonbon Leads the Challenge Against Constitutional Hill
The biggest challenger to Constitutional Hill in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle could come from his own stable. Jonbon is just behind the market leader in betting. The six-year-old is also unbeaten in three appearances.
Jonbon featured in a bumper last season where he was successful at Newbury over their extended 2m trip. He returned to the Berkshire racecourse for his hurdles debut, breaking his maiden at the first attempt.
Henderson’s novice stepped up in class at Ascot in a Grade Two event. He produced an excellent turn of foot to score by just under three lengths in a race, which included some unexposed horses.
Connections have yet to commit to which race Jonbon will run in. The Alternative to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over the longer trip of 2m4f. That’s a decision which is likely to be made on the eve of the festival. If Henderson does allow both horses to square off at Cheltenham, it could be one of the best duals seen in the race for some years.
The 2022 Supreme Novices Hurdle takes place on the 15th March and it will be the first of 28 races from the meeting.
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