Connections of Impaire Et Passe insist a potential clash with Constitution Hill was not a factor in their decision to keep last season’s star novice hurdler over the smaller obstacles this term.
There were differing views on Tuesday after Nicky Henderson confirmed his Champion Hurdle hero Constitution Hill would not be embarking on a chasing career in the immediate future, with some bemoaning the decision due to the perceived lack of depth in the two-mile hurdling division.
In Impaire Et Passe, though, he could face a new and significant rival, with the five-year-old having won each of four starts since joining Willie Mullins, including a dominant success in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Given the irresistible force that stands in their way, many expected Impaire Et Passe’s owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede to elect to send their charge over fences in the autumn – but he will indeed head down the Champion Hurdle route, regardless of the opposition.
The owners’ racing manager, Anthony Bromley, said: “Basically it was always the thinking all summer that Impaire Et Passe was pretty inexperienced and another season hurdling would be good for the horse.
“We weren’t making the decision based on what other horses were around us, we were making the decision based on what was the best decision for the horse and his long-term career.
“You never know what will happen to all these horses, so you make the decision based on what’s best for the actual animal rather than what’s around you, that was the thinking really.”
While the chances of Constitution Hill going chasing in the future appear slim, Impaire Et Passe is expected to switch disciplines next term.
Bromley added: “He’s so lightly raced that another season hurdling will hopefully toughen him up and then we can go chasing next season.
“He is the stamp of a chaser so he is exciting for that job, but we’ll see how high he can go over hurdles first.”