Constitution Hill had viewers reaching for any number of superlatives after he produced a devastating performance to win the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.
Last season’s 22-length Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner was due to have made his return to action a week earlier at Ascot before quick ground intervened, but the seven-day wait proved to be worthwhile as he made every inch of the running under Nico de Boinville.
Kicking clear of Epatante from the third-last hurdle, the five-year-old went on to justify his title as the highest-rated hurdler in training by dismissing the 2020 Champion Hurdle winner by 12 lengths.
This latest victory is his fourth on the bounce as he remains unbeaten under rules having been unlucky to meet with a narrow defeat on his competitive debut in a Tipperary point-to-point when with Warren Ewing before he was sold to Henderson for £120,000.
After the race Henderson confirmed that his new stable star would now follow the traditional route to the Champion Hurdle by taking in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on St. Stephen’s Day
“He’s an amazing horse. I couldn’t have been happier with Epatante, she’s run a great race and she’s been in terrific form,” Henderson told ITV Racing. “For him to do that to her, when she’s won one and a half times over the last two years, is ridiculous really.
“She came and galloped here 10 days ago, she’s in cracking form, she won it last year and the year before and yet, I have to say I felt sorry for her. She’s a wonderful filly, she was second in the Champion Hurdle last year yet this horse could just lob around, press a button and I have to say, it was a bit special.
“I have to say any clown could probably train this horse. Some lesser horses are rather more complicated, this is just ABC — you just let him go through the motions and he doesn’t bother. His mind is so good and that helps enormously.
“He’s going round there on his own out in front and he’s taking nothing out of himself at all, he’s doing his own thing and his jumping is great. He’s never seen the front like that before but so what? It’s just all the same to him. He is completely unflappable.
“He’s got to go to the Christmas Hurdle, then we just just slip through January and then the great clash is going to come with Honeysuckle.
“I think everyone is looking forward to it and I don’t suppose we will meet until March. It will be a big day.”
His immediate triumph in open Grade 1 company sees two former Irish point-to-pointers sit at the very top of the two-mile hurdle division with the reigning champion hurdler Honeysuckle set to make her return to action in next week’s Hatton Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.