Nicky Henderson seems to have a knack for controversy at the Tingle Creek meeting. Three years ago, he withdrew Altior and blamed the ground conditions, sparking a clash with Racing TV presenter Lydia Hislop. Now, Henderson has withdrawn Constitution Hill due to heavy rain making the ground testing. While it's understandable to withdraw a horse based on ground conditions, it's irresponsible to label heavy ground as a 'welfare' issue, which it clearly is not.
Using 'welfare' as an excuse
In a recent Unibet blog, Henderson mentioned that he spoke to jockey Nico and owner Michael Buckley, and they all wanted to run Constitution Hill. However, Henderson expressed concerns about the horse's best interests and welfare on heavy ground. This isn't the first time Henderson has used this excuse, as he withdrew runners at Ascot last winter on quicker ground, much to the annoyance of other trainers.
Choosing words more carefully
While it's important to prioritize a horse's safety and withdraw them if the ground conditions are unsuitable, it's crucial to avoid throwing around words like 'welfare' casually. Racing on heavy ground does not equate to abuse, as owner Michael Buckley suggested in a message to Matt Chapman. It's essential for Henderson and Buckley to keep it simple and choose their words more carefully in the future.