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Will Constitution Hill Stay over Hurdles or Go Chasing?

, Will Constitution Hill Stay over Hurdles or Go Chasing?

Regrets, I've had a few

Like the time I flagged down a police car in the middle of the road thinking it was my Uber coming to collect me after a skinful of Pinot Grigio.

Quirky business decisions and racing success

But I can't imagine racehorse owner Michael Buckley has had too many regrets over the years. He's made a fortune through some quirky business decisions – from owning all the sheep on the Falklands to launching Foxy Bingo – and a pretty penny on the racecourse, too.

A decision with a lot riding on it

The decision facing him and old pal Nicky Henderson with Constitution Hill right now is a straightforward one, but there is a lot riding on it. After all, the six-year-old has already been labelled 'the best jumps horse ever' in some quarters, just seven starts into his career.

Henderson's expertise and previous dilemmas

You'd have an easier time getting a KGB agent to give up the Kremlin's darkest secrets than obtaining a hint from top jock Nico de Boinville. And wise old bird Hendo has been around long enough to know how to bob and weave out the way of a tricky question like a prime Mohammed Ali. Hendo has been in this boat before, of course. He faced a similar dilemma with Altior – who was ultimately sent chasing after his novice hurdling campaign. That didn't turn out too badly.

Constitution Hill's ultimate goal

The big difference this time around is that Buckers only wants to go chasing if the ultimate goal is the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2025. Dawn Run stands alone in having completed the Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup double, and it's his dream to follow in her footsteps.

Stamina and skepticism

So if Constitution Hill does go chasing, they're going to have to find out sooner or later if he has the stamina for three miles. And I'll admit, I'm skeptical. He was workmanlike for the first time in his life when winning the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f, with Hendo suggesting he wasn't at his best at the end of a long season. But he only had four starts in a relatively light campaign – to my eye he barely got home.

The safe option

In a perfect world, he goes chasing, stays longer than the mother-in-law and tees up a Gold Cup head-to-head with Galopin Des Champs in 18 months time. If that doesn't get your jumps juices flowing nothing will. But this is not a perfect world and these animals are not machines. It's the safe option to stay hurdling – with the goal of becoming the first horse ever to win four Champion Hurdles – and I wouldn't blame them for doing so.

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Regret and sticking my neck out

Having said all that, you just know Buckley would regret not at least having a go over fences. They could always do a Buveur D'Air if it went Pete Tong, after all. It would be the mother of all 'what ifs' if they didn't… so I'm going to stick my neck out and say it. Constitution Hill WILL go chasing next season.

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