Sir Gino could be on collision course with Constitution Hill next season

 In Uncategorized

When you have been champion jumps trainer six times and won almost everything there is to win, landing a mere Grade 1 juvenile hurdle might normally be small beer. But this has not been a normal year for Nicky Henderson.

A cruelly timed bout of ill health in his string meant that not only did the man who has trained more Cheltenham Festival winners than any other British trainer drew a blank at the meeting last month, but also that many of his stars were not even well enough to run.

Then, to make things even more grim, his brilliant hurdler Constitution Hill came down with colic and had to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

But you cannot keep a good man down and when the former Champion Hurdle winner returns in 2024-25 he may have a rival from his own yard to worry about.

Four weeks on from being forced to miss the Triumph Hurdle, for which he had been hot favourite for most of the winter, Sir Gino signalled better times ahead for Henderson with a battling victory in the Boodles Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.

“This means a lot,” a relieved Henderson admitted, “but the good thing about bad days is you always hope there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Reflecting on his troubled spring, the trainer said: “In all those years there have been plenty of downs before the ups. We all know what it’s like, every trainer in the world knows, they’ve been through these sort of things. Unfortunately, ours became more public than was probably necessary because it bumped into Cheltenham.

“It’s a relief to everybody. The people in the yard have been brilliant. It’s a long old winter, slaving away in foul weather to get them ready for Cheltenham and then when it doesn’t happen it’s horrible for all of us. They’ve borne this battle really well with us – well done and thank you to them.”

It took the unbeaten Sir Gino a while to get on top but Henderson said: “It was a messy sort of race, they were playing cat and mouse. It was stop-start and he was a bit untidy up the straight.

“Still, he’s done what he had to do. He’s very good and hopefully he’s got a long way to go. Sticking to hurdles would have to be the plan for next season, we’re not going to think about discussing it now, but we’ll have to see.”

That may put him on a collision course with his stablemate and Henderson said: “Constitution Hill is fine. He’s a two-mile hurdler and that’s what this is – they might get to know each other!”

Courtesy of Racing Post