The ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ is finally here as the biggest meeting of the jumps season kicks off at Prestbury Park. More than 250,000 people are expected to descend on the racecourse across four days, and many will be attending today to see Constitution Hill, a possible greatest horse of all time, in the feature race, the Champion Hurdle.
Further highlights on the opening day include Honeysuckle, who won the Champion Hurdle last year but is today in the Mares’ Hurdle in what is set to be her swansong. The first of 28 races across the week was the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, in which favourite Facile Vega came second to Marine Nationale, while Corach Rambler once again took the Ultima.
There remain question marks over the conditions in Gloucestershire after days of wind, rain and even snow in the build-up, but the weather forecast is kinder for the first day’s action on a cloudy afternoon, with the going ‘soft’. Follow all the action from Prestbury Park with our dedicated LIVE blog below!
Trainer Lucinda Russell’s reacts to Corach Rambler’s win…
“That was amazing. What a horse he is. He is absolutely brilliant. I was so nervous beforehand because the horse means so much but Derek is so cool.
“He has got a brilliant mind – the horse has got a quite interesting mind. I am so proud and pleased.”
Preview: Unibet Champion Hurdle 3:30pm
The Unibet Champion Hurdle (3.30) looks to have a genuine superstar for the first time perhaps since Hurricane Fly won 10 years ago, but the expectation is that Constitution Hill will be even better.
It seems incredible now that he was sent off 9-4 in the opening race on this card 12 months ago, when he produced one of the greatest novice displays ever seen at a racetrack.
Henderson’s son of Blue Bresil is set to go off the shortest-priced favourite in the history of a race first run in 1927. If he were somehow scratched, State Man would be a similarly short price to win the race. Indeed, the straight forecast of Constitution Hill beating the Mullins runner is odds-on.
Time for the big one!
Attention now turns to the feature race of the day, it’s the Champion Hurdle! Constitution Hill the star of the show – anything other than a dominant showing would be a huge shock.
Constitution Hill 4/11
State Man 10/3
I Like To Move It 22/1
Not So Sleepy 150/1
Jason The Militant 200/1
Odds via Betfair.
More from the winning jockey…
1 – Corach Rambler 6/1
2 – Fastorslow 7/1
3 – Monbeg Genius 6/1
4 – The Goffer 7/1
New favourite for the Grand National?
Corach Rambler travelled so well throughout, patient ride by Derek Fox and it worked to perfection.
“He’s just a tremendous horse,” Fox says.
Corach Rambler wins the Ultima!
Sensational race. So strong on the run to the finish, just edges out Fastorslow. Monbeg Genius in third.
Full places to follow…
Poor jump from The Wolf, he’s fallen off along with another five or six at the back of the field.
At the front, it’s still anyone’s race. Harper’s Brook at the front, Fantastikas just behind. Monbeg Genius travelling well, Nassalam and Corach Rambler with ground to make up.
Still it’s Harper’s Brook and Fantastikas at the front of the field. All very tightly packed though, with still more than half of this race to go.
Monbeg Genius starting to move up, Corach Rambler still in the middle of the pack.
Top Ville Ben and Fantastikas leading them round, with Corach Rambler comfortably in midfield.
They’re all still running with 13 to go, Harper’s Brook has now moved to the front.