December 2nd, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary
I just want to write a few words about Constitution Hill.
I had suggested beforehand that the five-year-old, who had yet to race outside novice company, was too short at 1/4 to concede 7lbs to Epatante, the winner of six Grade 1s including a Champion Hurdle, two places in the same race and two victories in the Fighting Fifth.
I was, of course, aware of the incredibly high esteem in which he was held and that he was a horse of great potential, but I took the view that he was no 4/1 on chance to concede weight to a horse that had proved herself at the highest level.
How wrong I was.
For a start I did not expect to see Constitution Hill make the running. I thought Not So Sleepy would adopt that role. Second I was surprised at how well he jumped, as he had been a little hesitant on occasions last season. Third I did not expect him to win by 12 lengths easing down and finally, watching the race, I was not expecting him to record such a good time … I gather his 3m 46.17s is the fastest time for the race in the last 20 years, bettering by some margin the next best 3m 50.20s recorded by the mercurial Harchibald in 2004.
Furthermore, we now have a solid line of form through to Honeysuckle, who beat Epatante by three and a half lengths at Cheltenham and by 12 and a half lengths in 2021.
It’s an unfortunate trait in this game that something invariably turns up to stop the big showdown, but there is a case for suggesting that the top price of 8/11 with Skybet to win the Champion Hurdle is fair value on the strength of what we saw on Saturday.
You can now get 9/2 about Honeysuckle – a remarkable price when you think she is undefeated in 16 starts and has twice won the Champion Hurdle – and 7/1 about the progressive State Man. His stable companion Vauban, who is said to be taking time to come to hand, is available at 12s, with 25/1 bar.
On Betfair Constitution Hill is 1.69, with Honeysuckle at 4.9, State Man at 10.5 and Vauban on 17.
I suppose the sensible bet at the prices is Honeysuckle each-way at 9/2 – she is surely shorter than 9/10 to finish in the first three – but there is the best part of four months still to go before Cheltenham and things can, and probably will, change.
One final point to make about Constitution Hill relates to his pedigree. He is the first foal of his dam, who won over hurdles and is out of a sister to a point-to-point and 2m 4f hurdle winner, so there are sound reasons to expect him to stay further than two miles.
That will be something to think about further down the line but, as a five-year-old, I expect connections to try and win a few Champion Hurdles before asking him to switch to chasing.
Bye for now