The dream duel between Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill will have to wait until next season after Nicky Henderson “turned down all temptations” to take the latter to Punchestown Festival next week.
Institution Hill, a brilliant winner of last month’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, is more likely to head off on his summer break than a tantalizing encounter with the undefeated mare of Henry de Bromhead.
A possible clash between the two at the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle was subsequently mooted, with race sponsors dangling the carrot of a £100,000 bonus should a British horse triumph.
Talks with owner Michael Buckley over the weekend confirmed the decision to sit out the five-year-old, who has only had four career starts, for the remainder of the season, with Henderson confident he will be a “better horse”. next season.
“We’ve been humming and aahing for a good fortnight now. It was very tempting,” Henderson said on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast. “But he’s a big, pretty raw five-year-old who’s only had three races in his life and his future is so bright.
“And believe it or not, I think he can be a better and stronger horse in a year. I would just rather finish on a good note when everything is ahead of him. There is all the time in the world to meet Honeysuckle and hopefully in March (at Cheltenham).”
The Seven Barrows handler added: “He will definitely get over hurdles and he can have a proper campaign next season. To go there (Ireland) and do it against what is undoubtedly a very good mare, it’s not so much that we’re scared of her, it’s just doing something that wasn’t really in Constitution Hill’s interest and benefit .
“I think the field and a nice summer are more of an advantage and we’ll just try to build his frame up a bit more. We have rejected all temptations.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/punchestown/duel-between-honeysuckle-and-constitution-hill-must-wait-as-nicky-henderson-resists-punchestown-temptation-41563799.html Honeysuckle vs. Constitution Hill’s duel will have to wait while Nicky Henderson resists the temptation of Punchestown