CONSTITUTION HILL… what do we all think after his Fighting Fifth romp on Saturday?
The best 2-mile hurdler since the legend that is ISTABRAQ?
Potentially BETTER than Istabraq?
Only has to turn up in March to beat the undefeated dual champion that is HONEYSUCKLE?
For me it’s a bit early, after only 4 starts under rules, to be comparing him with the greats of the 2-mile hurdle division… he’s clearly got masses of potential, absolutely tons, he’s won his 4-starts by 12L, 22L, 12L & 14L… but I’ll hang fire for now before deciding where he sits in the all-time pecking order of 2-mile hurdlers…
What we can say for sure is that he banged in a monster speed figure in winning the Fighting Fifth on Saturday, despite the fact he was eased down come the line. A couple of others have actually recorded a higher speed figure when winning the Fighting Fifth (using Proform Speed figures as my gauge), with both IRVING (2014) and IDENTITY THIEF (2015) posting a higher Speed Figure than CONSTITUTION HILL did on Saturday… although both that two were driven out right to the line for their wins and had Nico De Boinville done the same the Henderson horse would almost certainly have topped their figures, possibly by a good margin (obviously there was no need for De Boinville to get serious on Constitution Hill on Saturday, easing him down was the sensible thing to do…).
CONSTITUTION HILL clearly holds any amount of potential right now… I just hope we get to see him run plenty of times and he doesn’t get overly wrapped in Henderson cotton wool… 🤞
Plenty else going on last weekend though and here’s the latest edition of…
Three to follow from the weekend: 25th, 26th & 27th November…
CRACK DU NINIAN (J Candlish)
4th in a Class 4 Handicap Chase – 1223 Bangor (Saturday 26th)
This 7yo is on a winnable mark at present but he’s now 0/7 on Heavy (it was Heavy at Bangor on Saturday) and he won’t have enjoyed the ground at the North Wales venue.
He’s worth looking out for under the following Prime Conditions…
OR 114 or less | Hcps over less than 2m3f | Soft or quicker = 311211 (4/6, 1p – all 4 career wins)
He was dropped 2lbs for Saturday’s effort to OR 110.
EAST STREET (S Smith)
3rd in a Class 3 Novices’ Handicap Chase – 222 Doncaster (Saturday 26th)
I would expect this one to be above average over fences but no doubt this was an underwhelming start.
That was, however, most likely down to the form of the Sue Smith yard, who are only 2/64 the last 180 days and 1/29 the last 30 days, and they are yet to click into gear this season.
That’s not unusual for the yard though as October & November are generally quite periods for the Smith team and it can sometimes take until January before they really start showing proper signs of life.
This season the Smith seasonal debutants show figures of 0/19, 3p so again no surprise that EAST STREET was another who clearly needed the first run of the season.
The 6yo should improve plenty for this outing and I’d expect plenty more from the Mores Wells gelding in coming starts. The horse he beat on rules debut – Kinondo Kwetu – has since fired in a form string of… 2111111 (6/7, 1p)… and is now rated OR 137 and I really don’t think EAST STREET’S current mark of OR 112 (went down 2lbs for Saturday’s run) will prove any barrier once the Smith yard start to click into gear.
OSCAR ELITE (J Tizzard)
10th in a Class 1 Handicap Chase (Coral Gold Cup) – 305 Newbury (Saturday 26th)
One that doesn’t come without some level of risk attached, he has bled a couple of times in the past, and I would start to worry he’s maybe just not going to cut it over fences as he is now 0/7, 1p over the larger obstacles.
I would have hoped, however, for at least a little bit more of a stronger showing on Saturday but in truth he never really looked a player once he dropped back into mid-pack, after sitting prominent early doors.
The only ‘excuse’ I could offer for him was that he maybe didn’t handle the quick(ish) ground as he is now 0/4, 0p on Good (it was Good at Newbury on Saturday) and his 2 wins to date have come on Heavy. His two wins also came on very undulating tracks (both over the Chepstow Hurdles) and his best chase effort came at last season’s Cheltenham Festival when finishing 3rd in the Ultima Handicap… so maybe he just needs tough conditions (either ground or track… or both) to show his best.
On Heavy ground on a Very Undulating track he returns form figures of… 311 (2/3, 1p – both career wins)… and they would possibly be bang Prime Conditions for the 7yo, albeit he maybe doesn’t need both, he run well if he gets just one of them to run under (as already mentioned he ran a big race in the Ultima Handicap at Cheltenham last season on a Very Undulating track on Good to Soft ground).
A slightly risky one to be following and not one I’d be holding on to for too long (you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em type 🧔🏼)… but he was dropped 2lbs for Saturday’s effort to OR 137 and that is a mark he really should be able to do some damage from… he maybe just needs some testing/tough conditions to run on to show his best…
Cheers – Ben (NTF)
p.s. if you missed All-Weather Davy’s analysis yesterday you can get that HERE (the races have been run, obviously, but there are always plenty of hidden nuggets in Dave’s work to take note of going forward)