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Fighting Fifth Hurdle: Constitution Hill and Shishkin on course for Sandown clash says Nicky Henderson

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle was abandoned due to a frozen track at Newcastle last weekend; the race will now be staged at Sandown on Saturday, with trainer Nicky Henderson potentially running both Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill and Shishkin

Nicky Henderson could run both of his superstars in Saturday's Fighting Fifth at Sandown.
Image: Nicky Henderson could run both of his superstars in Saturday's Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown

Nicky Henderson says there is a "good chance" both Constitution Hill and Shishkin could run in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

The pair missed their intended races at Newcastle last Saturday, with the meeting lost to the weather, and the two jumping stars ended up spending Friday night at Doncaster racecourse on their way back to Lambourn.

Henderson mooted the possibility of Shishkin reverting to hurdles in preparation for a crack at the King George VI Chase at the weekend, having refused to race on his intended comeback at Ascot and the weather then intervening before the Rehearsal Chase.

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However, it now seems like he may be joined by his esteemed stablemate, who initially looked an unlikely runner in the rearranged race.

"There's a good chance they could both run," said Henderson. "Shishkin needs a run and I think this is the easiest and kindest way to do it.

"It is only 17 days before the King George and the alternative is the Peterborough Chase but I like the idea of this.

"He was a very good two-mile chaser and so he shouldn't find it too sharp. I admit he did get taken off his feet a little in last year's Tingle Creek but this is a good idea for a race before the King George.

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Newcastle's clerk of the course Eloise Quayle spoke of her devastation after Saturday's Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle card was abandoned due to frozen ground and snow

"The start won't be a problem - he says bravely - he won't be wearing cheekpieces and we hope he has a nice time."

He went on: "As for Constitution Hill, we've ummed and ahhed the whole weekend and when I went to bed I wasn't going to enter him, but I've woken up this morning with a different idea. I haven't been able to make my mind up, so I've put him in.

"There's a pretty good chance he'll run, I'd say. It's going to be a wet week but he goes in heavy ground. I'd say he's more likely to run than not but it is a very difficult call, so everyone just needs to bear with us.

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"I suspect both might run. They travelled all over the country together last weekend, so they are new best friends."

There are eight entries for the Fighting Fifth, and they include Gordon Elliott's Irish Point, a Grade One novice winner from last season.

Love Envoi, You Wear It Well, Benson, Goshen and Not So Sleepy complete the list.

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