Constitution Hill crowned king of Cheltenham with procession for ages | Barry Glendenning

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Nicky Henderson’s remarkable gelding showed his star quality in a Champion Hurdle that became a one-horse race

Not so much a race as a regal procession, the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday marked the coronation of Constitution Hill as the racegoing public’s latest king. While there has long been a feeling that his latest win was always going to be a formality, the teary relief of the odds-on favourite’s trainer, Nicky Henderson, upon seeing the latest in a long line of Seven Barrows stable stars emphatically justify a stressful year of hype provided a stark reminder that no matter how good your horse is, in the dangerous hustle-bustle of National Hunt racing there are no end of things that can go wrong either by accident or through a rival’s design.

They could scarcely have gone more right for Constitution Hill. On an afternoon when already under-pressure jockeys went about their work in morbid dread of falling foul of recently implemented, unpopular and punitive rules regarding their use of the whip, Nico de Boinville had little need to worry about landing himself in hot water as he won doing handstands and pulling a metaphorical cart. Romping home by nine lengths – it could have been many more – from their nearest rivals, State Man and Paul Townend, the unbeaten partnership pulverised the seven-strong field with such ease the jockey simply had no need for recourse to his stick.

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Written by Barry Glendenning at Cheltenham
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