William Hill Aintree Hurdle: Flawless Constitution Hill cruises to Aintree glory for Nico De Boinville and Nicky Henderson

Constitution Hill put the seal on a flawless campaign with a dominant performance in the William Hill Aintree Hurdle.

So impressive in winning last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham by 22 lengths, Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old has taken the step up into the big league this year with consummate ease.

Having left his top-class stablemate Stunning trailing in his wake in both the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle, he produced another spectacular display in last month’s Champion Hurdle and was unsurprisingly cramped odds to make it seven from seven over hurdles on Merseyside.

Constitution Hill and Nico De Boinville jump the last in the Aintree Hurdle
Constitution Hill and Nico De Boinville jump the last in the Aintree Hurdle

What followed was another exhibition round from Constitution Hill (2-15), with jockey Nico de Boinville sending him to the front from the drop of the flag before upping the ante in the back straight.

The chasing pack had closed the gap by the time he turned for home, but De Boinville was still motionless in the saddle and only had push his mount out on the run-in to score by three lengths.

Sharjah came from the rear of the field to beat Zanahiyr to the runner-up spot, with last year’s winner Stunning only fourth this time around as her remarkable stable companion again stole the show.

Questions will now inevitably turn to what the future holds for Constitution Hill, with Henderson already stating his intention to give the sport’s pre-eminent star a spring schooling session over fences before a decision is made on what route he will pursue next term.

Speaking afterwards, Henderson did not want to be drawn further on whether a chasing career could await next season, and in fact indicated he could stay hurdling.

“I don’t think we’ll school him on Saturday!”

“That couldn’t have been more straightforward. Two and a half miles out there on your own, your mind could wander, but he’s just had a doddle around and was in second gear the whole way,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

“He does jump doesn’t he. He’s got such versatility. We spoke this morning and said he’d have to make it, don’t mess about and keep it simple. Nico said he was hardly doing anything on the way round.

“I’m sure he’d get three miles, but there’ll be no decisions made today about next year. We’re not edging one way or the other. I’m not saying we won’t school him over a fence, but we’re not leaning any way.

“As long as he keeps doing it like that we’ve got a long summer to look back on it and enjoy it and talk about what will happen next.

“I don’t think we’ll school him on Saturday! I might the Saturday after! I don’t know, we’ll just have a think.

“There’s only so many races he can run in next year, Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle, I do think the International will come into it on Trials Day and then Champion Hurdle and come here. Some might say that’s boring, but we won’t find it boring. All options are still open and we won’t make a decision until the autumn I’d have thought.”

Like Henderson, proud owner Michael Buckley was rather non-committal about the future. He said: “It’s nerve-wracking to be honest. I probably shouldn’t say that, but it is. I suppose that’s my temperament rather than anything to do with the horse, who is spectacular.

“I thought we might pay the late entry fee and run him in the National on Saturday, how would that do? I don’t know what we’ll do, I just want to enjoy this and praise Nicky as he’s won with two horses today who were both winning their sixth Grade Ones. We’ll enjoy that, it’s enough for one day.”