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Constitution Hill: Nicky Henderson on weather watch ahead of Fighting Fifth at Sandown

Nicky Henderson: "It's going to be horrible ground and it's going to make everything very tricky. We'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out"; the Seven Barrows trainer also has Shishkin, Jonbon and Willmount entered at Sandown on Saturday

Nico de Boinville celebrates on board Constitution Hill after winning the the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Image: Constitution Hill is set to start a warm favourite for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle if he runs

Nicky Henderson will be monitoring the situation at Sandown ahead of the rearranged Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle in which Constitution Hill is set to make his seasonal reappearance.

The race was frozen off last weekend at its usual home of Newcastle but swiftly rescheduled for Saturday's Tingle Creek card.

With Jonbon already odds-on for that Grade One, Henderson then added another of his stable stars to the Esher cast when confirming that Shishkin, not long ago the number one attraction at Seven Barrows, would have his prep for the King George in the Fighting Fifth after refusing to start at Ascot last month.

However, as ever the British weather is doing its bit to put a spanner in the works and while the meeting at Sandown is not in any apparent doubt, the going on the hurdles track is already soft, heavy in places with plenty more rain forecast over the next 48 hours.

"It's going to be horrible ground and it's going to make everything very tricky," said Henderson on Thursday.

"We'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out tomorrow and we'll be monitoring the situation closely.

"He's declared so obviously we want to run him but it is close to the Christmas Hurdle, so it just might not be in his best interests.

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Shishkin ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville on their way to winning the Betfair Ascot Chase
Image: Shishkin is set to be ridden by James Bowen instead of Nico de Boinville when he makes his seasonal debut at Sandown on Saturday

"We all want to run, I just want to warn people that we will be assessing the conditions and I cannot guarantee that everything will take part on Saturday.

"The others are intended runners at this stage. Willmount is in the first race [Claremont Novices' Hurdle] and he's never run on heavy, so we need to find out if he handles this ground.

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"As for Jonbon, we've always felt he was at his best on better ground, but he has won on soft and I'm pretty sure we've got stamina in our pocket."

Jonbon and Nico de Boinville power away in the Shloer Chase
Image: Jonbon will be bidding to follow up his Shloer Chase success on Saturday

Jonbon is odds-on for the Tingle Creek in which he will face four rivals - Boothill, Edwardstone, Haddex Des Obeaux and Nube Negra.

Also on the Sandown menu is the Henry VIII Novices' Chase, where the Joe Tizzard-trained JPR One bids to atone for an unfortunate mishap at Cheltenham last month.

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