Constitution Hill given record rating for a novice hurdler

Constitution Hill has been awarded a mark of 170 in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications – a record high for a novice hurdler since the introduction of the ratings.

The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding earned his figure with his performance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where the brilliant mare Honeysuckle won the Champion Hurdle for the second time.

Henry de Bromhead’s superstar was allotted a mark of 165 – which taking into account her 7lb mare’s allowance gives her a slight edge ahead of what would be a hugely-anticipated showdown next season.

Honeysuckle was unstoppable at Cheltenham
Honeysuckle was unstoppable at Cheltenham (Nigel French/PA)

De Bromhead’s Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard tops the overall ratings on 180, which sees him 3lb clear of the Willie Mullins-trained Allaho, who also runs in the colours of Cheveley Park Stud. Mullins’ Energumene and Henderson’s Shishkin follow on 176.

Andrew Mealor, British Horseracing Authority hurdles team leader, said: “The standout performance over hurdles in the latest season was undoubtedly Constitution Hill’s top-class effort in the Supreme at Cheltenham.

“Nicky Henderson’s charge has been awarded a rating of 170 for his 22-length defeat of subsequent Grade One winner Jonbon in a fast time, which makes him the first hurdler to rate 170+ in the end-of-season classifications since Champion Hurdle winner Espoir d’Allen in 2018/19.

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“Furthermore, 170 is the highest rating for a novice over hurdles since the Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications were founded in 1999/2000, eclipsing the 168 rating awarded to Iris’s Gift after he finished second to Baracouda as a novice in the 2003 Stayers’ Hurdle.

Rachel Blackmore celebrates with A Plus Tard
Rachel Blackmore celebrates with A Plus Tard (David Davies/PA)

“Constitution Hill looks to have the world at his feet as he heads into open company next season, though star mare Honeysuckle should not be forgotten of course, having yet again done all that was asked of her in another unbeaten campaign, including a second success in the Champion Hurdle.

“As things stand, Honeysuckle’s figure of 165 plus her 7lbs mares’ allowance gives her the edge on ratings over Constitution Hill, though that does not factor in the latter’s scope for further improvement after just three starts. A clash between the two should be one to savour next March.”

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