Supreme duo Constitution Hill & Jonbon “very, very good”

Leading Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fancies Constitution Hill (2/1f) and Jonbon (4/1) are on course for the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser according to trainer Nicky Henderson.

The 71-year-old was full of praise for his two superstar novice hurdlers during a press day at Seven Barrows this week, ahead of the Festival at Prestbury Park in exactly three weeks today.

He said: “The Supreme is the plan, and both Constitution Hill and Jonbon have been very good.

“They both worked on Saturday, and they have not worked with each other and will not work with each other. It would ruin the party if we worked them together. I don’t want them ripping up trees and having dust ups here as they would do too much.

“They are very, very good,” he added.

Cheltenham Festival Betting Odds

Many consider Shishkin – already a two-time Festival winner having landed the 2020 Supreme and 2021 Arkle – not only Henderson but England’s best chance of a winner (Shishkin – 4/6 to win the Champion Chase) this year, however the man himself warns “there’s no way he can be a banker.”

He went on: “It was a fantastic race [the Clarence House] at Ascot, and everybody loved it apart from Willie and myself. It was great Shishkin came out in front, but there wasn’t that much between them and it looked like he [Energumene] had us in trouble too.

“He is a tough horse this – and Willie is going to throw in Chacun Pour Soi too and you never want to underestimate him and he could still be a big player.”

Henderson also confirmed that the JP McManus-owned pair, Champ and Chantry House, are on track for the Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup respectively.

On Champ (5/1 to win the Stayers’ Hurdle), he said: “He is good. He was maybe a little underwhelming on Trials Day, and I don’t think he jumped quite as well as he did at Ascot. If I can get him back to where we were at Ascot he has got to be there or thereabouts.”

While on Chantry House, who will “definitely go to the Gold Cup (Chantry House – 16/1 to win the Gold Cup)”, he offered reason for fans/backers to be optimistic, saying: “The Trial [Cotswold Chase] wasn’t earth shattering, but we have reason to believe we have a little more up our sleeve.

“It is possibly very solid form and I think the Gold Cup has opened up a lot. Nothing has jumped off the front page and stamped his authority on the race and it is up for grabs.

“He is a high-class horse and a good stayer too.”

The Seven Barrows maestro was quietly confident about Marie’s Rock, who got her career back on track with a Listed success at Warwick the other week, ahead of the Mares’ Hurdle (Marie’s Rock – 10/1 to win the Mares’ Hurdle).

“You would think the two and a half there is going to suit her,” he said. “I am quite looking forward to running her.”

Henderson also pointed punters in the direction of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for the “very good” Walking On Air (7/1) and the “classy” I Am Maximus (16/1) – while the County Hurdle is being touted for First Street (16/1) and Broomfield Burg (16/1).

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Author: Paula Allen