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Constitution Hill in better health but misses State Man clash at Punchestown

Nicky Henderson has confirmed Constitution Hill will not run again this season after a colic scare; he has returned to Seven Barrows and the Champion Hurdle star will now have the summer off before returning in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Sky Sports Racing

Constitution Hill's trip to Cheltenham is in doubt
Image: Constitution Hill's trip to Punchestown is off the cards

Constitution Hill is back at Nicky Henderson's yard after a colic scare, with any thoughts of a trip to the Punchestown Festival now firmly ruled out.

The Seven Barrows handler announced on Sunday that his superstar hurdler had been taken to a veterinary hospital due suspected colic on Wednesday night, describing it as "a few traumatic days" with the unbeaten gelding.

Henderson issued an upbeat bulletin on Monday with Constitution Hill returning to the Lambourn yard to continue his recovery, although the 2023 Champion Hurdle hero is in need of an extended period of rest.

Nico de Boinville celebrates winning The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Constitution Hill on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
Image: Nico de Boinville celebrates winning last year's Champion Hurdle on Constitution Hill

That means a potential clash with last month's Cheltenham victor State Man is now off the agenda until next term.

In a statement posted on X on Monday, Henderson said: "Constitution Hill returned to Seven Barrows this morning and it is wonderful to have him home after what he has endured.

"He resumed normal feed yesterday with no further ill effects and had a nice pick of grass in the welcome sunshine.

Paul Townend finally wins the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham
Image: Paul Townend celebrates after winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on State Man

"Hopefully this is all behind him now but I am afraid it is easy to see he had a difficult week and the reality is he is going to take some time to recover and put some weight back on again.

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"Therefore our much-anticipated match with State Man will have to wait until next season."

Constitution Hill has run just once this season after cold weather scuppered his initial planned return in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, with deep ground seeing him bypass the rescheduled event at Sandown.

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He won the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day in a canter, but an unsatisfactory scope saw him miss an intended Trials day run at Cheltenham before a respiratory infection ended his hopes of a Champion Hurdle defence last month.

The Fighting Fifth is pencilled in as a starting point for next season, though Henderson's main priority remains Constitution Hill's health.

He added: "As long as he is OK that is all that matters, but it has been a horrible few months since his great performance in the Christmas Hurdle. It is time for him to have a summer holiday now and look forward to his return, hopefully in the Fighting Fifth."

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