- Constitution Hill and stablemate Shishkin were stranded in the north of England
- This was because their pending trip to Newcastle ended up being cancelled
- The limit on a horsebox driver’s hours meant there were unable to get back home
Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill and stablemate Shishkin were last night stranded in the north of England after their intended targets at Newcastle were abandoned.
The limit on a horsebox driver’s hours meant there was not enough time to get them back to Nicky Henderson’s Lambourn stable.
The loss of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, now set to be staged at Sandown next Saturday, means Constitution Hill looks likely to make his seasonal debut in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.
Similarly, the loss of Newcastle’s Rehearsal Chase is likely to see Shishkin make his seasonal debut in the King George VI Chase.
Henderson said: ‘Newcastle did give us a bit of warning before the inspection so we stopped but they still can’t get back to Lambourn within the hours the drivers are allowed to drive.
Nicky Henderson has revealed how Constitution Hill and Shishkin were looking for a bed
‘So I have these two horses floating around the north of England looking for a bed.
‘There is a big idea with the Fighting Fifth but I can’t commit Constitution Hill to that. I’m worried about running 16 days before the Christmas Hurdle.
‘Shishkin will run in the King George but I don’t like the idea of running in it first time out.’
Frost sheets had been deployed at Newcastle since Tuesday but the fixture succumbed when 5cm of snow fell.
Trainer Jeremy Scott saluted Dashel Drasher after the 10-year-old, who largely played the role of bridesmaid last season, held off Paisley Park to win the Long Distance Hurdle by a head.
Dashel Drasher was runner-up four times last season, including in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Scott said: ‘He has had an awful lot of seconds so to get his head in front is special. He has been outstanding for us. I did wonder whether the spark had gone — when you keep getting beaten it is quite hard to pick yourself up.’
Dashel Drasher will head to the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 23
Dashel Drasher will head to the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 23.
Trainer Gordon Elliott says the defeat of Bravemansgame in last weekend’s Betfair Chase has made him consider a shot at the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day with Gerri Colombe more seriously.
The gelding is 11-4 joint favourite for the Kempton showpiece after sustained support this week. Gerri Colombe won the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April and made a winning comeback at Down Royal. He also has an entry in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on December 28.
Elliott said: ‘There is every chance he will run. Bravemansgame getting beaten made me raise my eyelashes.’