Constitution Hill’s re-appearance in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot was a late move from trainer Nicky Henderson on Saturday morning.
The winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is set to take part in what could be his first step on the road to the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Henderson has been looking downright scary at Ascot this week, with heavy rain on Tuesday and Wednesday bringing much-needed relief.
However, dry conditions on the opening day of the November Racing Weekend on Friday saw the ground change from good to soft, good conditions in places, with no rain forecast ahead of Saturday.
“The track has been amazing all week,” Henderson told Sky Sports Racing. “Chris [Stickels, Ascot clerk of the course] He warned us on Tuesday when he went well, he is good to strengthen the place and gave us sleep at night, thinking that there is no way he can run on it.
“Then the rain came and it became soft, soft in places and we thought: ‘Good’.
The rain goes through the ground so fast, it’s amazing.
“We’ll have to keep an eye out tonight and see what the morning brings. It was a beautiful place today and if it’s the same tomorrow then don’t worry.
“These are big horses having their first race of the year and we have to make sure it’s safe for them. That’s all that matters. We have to do what’s right for the horse in the long run.
“When you get really good horses like this, it can be crazy to start taking risks. I know it can be frustrating for everyone.
“We’ll be walking around in the morning. There’s no chance.”
Constitution Hill rider Nico de Boinville was also concerned about the dry conditions as he spoke ahead of Friday’s race.
“The sun is out and I can probably do with the clouds,” he said.
“It looks like a good start for him, it’s a nice race and there’s some good pace in there so fingers crossed.
“Horses like this don’t come along every day so I try to enjoy them as much as I can and get the most out of them.”