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Constitution Hill and Epatante to clash in the Fighting Fifth

23 Nov 2022
Jon Vine 23 Nov 2022
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  • Key quotes from Nicky Henderson ahead of the 2022 Fighting Fifth Hurdle
  • Epatante will go for her third straight victory in this Grade One at Newcastle on Saturday 26th November
  • After he was scratched at Ascot last weekend, Constitution Hill will now run at Newcastle
  • Constitution Hill is now the 1/4 favourite with Betfair
nicky henderson
Nicky Henderson during a stable tour. (Getty)

Nicky Henderson confirmed today that Constitution Hill will take on stablemate Epatante in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle this weekend.

Henderson, once again, came in for criticism last weekend after he withdrew Constitution Hill from the Ascot Hurdle. ITV Racing viewers had been hoping to see last year's top novice hurdler make his reappearance in that Grade Two, but Henderson decided that the ground had become dangerously quick.

In the immediate aftermath of that decision, both the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the International Hurdle at Cheltenham were identified as possible targets. 

Henderson had been expected to choose the International Hurdle, with two-time winner Epatante topping the market for the Fighting Fifth. However, after a conversation with Constitution Hill's owner Michael Buckley, Henderson has allowed the stablemates to take each other on this Saturday.

"Michael decided yesterday that he, probably quite rightly, wanted to run at Newcastle. He said, 'come on let's go to Newcastle'." Henderson told Sky Sports Racing.

"He (Constitution Hill) was very fit and well last weekend and touch wood he will be this weekend.

"We were hoping him and Epatante wouldn't have to meet at this stage of the season but that's how it has gone.

"The horse is fit and well and if we wait another fortnight anything could happen. Also bear in mind the weather could stay like it has done down south, I've just been walking round Newbury - I got drowned this morning, but they are having to chuck water on it to keep this good ground, so we can't risk that."

"My heart will be at Newcastle even though my feet will be at Newbury. It's going to be a proper Grade One race!"

Yesterday, Epatante was best priced at 8/11 to win her third Fighting Fifth Hurdle, with Constitution Hill a general 2/1 chance. Following this bombshell announcement, the stablemates have swapped positions in the betting.

Betfair now makes Constitution Hill their 1/4 favourite, with Epatante now a 3/1 chance. Not So Sleepy, Pied Piper, Tommy's Oscar and Voix du Reve also feature in the field.


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