I KNOW Nicky Henderson has been really feeling the pressure ahead of Constitution Hill’s return at Ascot.
But you couldn’t have a cooler customer in the saddle than Nico De Boinville.
Nico is one of the best around when it comes to these high-pressure situations.
He was the first jockey in a long time to win the Gold Cup on a novice in Coneygree and that takes some doing.
If Constitution Hill wins he’s a hero. If he doesn’t . . . well, that’s what you’re dreading. It’s relief as much as anything to get the job done.
You do relish that pressure, though. You want to be on these top horses.
People used to ask me if there was pressure riding Sprinter Sacre, but there was more on the others to beat us. All I had to do was try not to mess up!
I have been chatting to Nico, as well as Nicky and owner Michael Buckley and everyone seems very happy with Constitution Hill.
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The ground is important — you wouldn’t want to run him on quick ground at this time of year — but the rain has come, thankfully.
The longer trip isn’t a question for me, either. He ran in a point-to-point as a four-year-old and would have won but for a mistake at the last.
He was beaten by Anyharminasking, who has looked a decent hurdler for Jonjo O’Neill and is still progressive. His pedigree also suggests stamina won’t be an issue.
This is the ideal race for him. The ground is perfect, Ascot is very fair, the trip won’t be a problem and he only has a short journey from home.
It’s a star-studded card at Ascot and L’HOMME PRESSE (2.05) can come out firing as he plots a course to the King George.
We expected to see Edwardstone in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham last weekend but Alan King has rerouted him here. It’s a handicap and he has a big weight to carry, so I fancy SO SCOTTISH (3.15) to take him on.
On a big day for comebacks Gold Cup hero A PLUS TARD (3.00 Haydock) goes for a repeat win in the Betfair Chase.
He’s better on better ground, but horses generally cope with softer conditions as they get older. I’ll be very surprised if he gets beaten.
The main danger is Protektorat. He is only seven, he was third in the Gold Cup and the Skelton horses are in great form.
The softer it gets the more the gap closes with him and A Plus Tard.
Barry was speaking via 888sport.com
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