Nicky Henderson fancies Punchestown date for Constitution Hill

English trainer keen to play down talk of a clash with ‘spectacular’ Honeysuckle

Nicky Henderson is keen not to get involved in the hype surrounding Constitution Hill and insists no decision has yet been made on his next outing.

While Henderson has admitted it will be Punchestown or nowhere for the ultra-impressive Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner, he has far from committed to taking on unbeaten Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle.

Constitution Hill was awarded an official BHA handicap mark of 170 – the highest ever given to a novice hurdler since Anglo-Irish classifications began in 1999/2000 – that puts him just 2lb behind the 165-rated Honeysuckle when her 7lb mares’ allowance is taken into consideration.

Henderson, though, is keen to stress the five-year-old has only had three races in his life, while also declaring himself as one of Honeysuckle’s biggest fans.

“I’m keeping right out of all the talk. I’m reading the headlines with interest every day about what he is and where he’s going and I’ve no idea,” said Henderson.

“We must remember he’s only had three runs, so I’m not getting involved in any discussions.

“What I will say is that I think Honeysuckle is absolutely spectacular, she’s won all those races and I think she’s absolutely gorgeous – I’m her biggest fan.

“We’ve got lots of time to think and lots of thinking to do.”

Constitution Hill led home his stablemate Jonbon, albeit some way in arrears, and Henderson is hoping to head to Aintree with the full-brother to Douvan.

“I think Jonbon will almost certainly go to Aintree, but Constitution Hill won’t go there. If he goes anywhere it will be Punchestown, but that doesn’t mean he will take on Honeysuckle,” said Henderson.

“I really have no idea what we’ll do. Obviously it’s flattering when you see his rating.

“Time will tell, luckily Constitution Hill can’t read the headlines.”

Dual Stayers’ Hurdle winner Flooring Porter will be heading to Aintree for his next outing, with the possibility of a crack at the French Champion Hurdle also mooted.

As Gavin Cromwell’s stable star prefers to go left-handed, Punchestown was never on his agenda so another trip to Britain is upcoming.

In the past Flooring Porter has been too keen to get on with the job, but he behaved impeccably in the Cotswolds.

Given a brilliant front-running ride by Danny Mullins for the second successive year, his two-and-three-quarter-length success sparked wild celebrations from his winning syndicate, which goes by the same name as the horse.

“Flooring Porter is great, he’s had a canter and he is 100 per cent,” said Cromwell.

“He has really grown up, it is just maturity, but when you take him out of his familiar surroundings it can affect him, but he is a very intelligent horse at the back of it all.

“We got him over there good and early which was a big help. He was a little on his toes for the first couple of days, but then got settled into the place and the red hood was a big help at the start.

“He definitely won’t go to Punchestown as he won’t go right-handed, so we will go to Aintree and there is a possibility he will go to Auteuil [Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil].”

Read More