THE impressive performance of Warren Ewing’s former charge Constitution Hill in winning the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown last Saturday had commentators drawing on superlatives while the interviews with his owner, Michael Buckley, were informative and entertaining.
The Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old faced just five other rivals over the two-mile trip on heavy ground and saw them off comprehensively as his odds of 2/5 had suggested. This was a second win from two starts over hurdles for the British-bred gelding whose previous victory had come under the same jockey, Nico de Boinville, and over the same course and distance, but on good-to-soft going, in early December.
By the now Glenview Stud-based Blue Bresil, Constitution Hill, who is the first produce of the dual hurdle-winner, and listed-placed, Queen Of The Stage (by King’s Theatre), was bred in Britain by Sally Noot from whom Warren and his good friend and business partner, Barry Geraghty, purchased the bay as a foal for €16,500 at Tattersalls Ireland’s 2017 November National Hunt Sale.
“He was one of a bunch of good four-year-olds we had for last season,” commented Templepatrick point-to-point handler Ewing, “but always stood out among them. He was laid-back but always willing to work and, before he ever ran, I told everyone to buy him!
“Unfortunately, he was held up with a cut and only got to run in a maiden at Tipperary in late April where he made most of the running but made a bad mistake at the last and just went down by a head.
“Unfortunately, he emptied after that run and, I can admit now, he looked crap at the sale which is why he didn’t make more money!” That was Goffs UK’s Spring Sale at Doncaster where the horse was knocked down to Seven Barrows for £120,000.
Among those who schooled Constitution Hill before his pointing debut was Ewing’s son Sam who, although now attached to the Gordon Elliott yard and plying his trade as a jumps jockey, was due to have a ride in both apprentice handicaps at Dundalk yesterday afternoon.
No doubt, if he does get time off, Sam will be back home schooling this season’s four-year-olds for his father.
“At the moment, it looks as if we have another exciting bunch of horses and time will tell if there’s another superstar among them,” said Ewing.
The Henderson-trained, de Boinville-ridden Dusart, who won the near three-mile Pertemps Network Novices’ Chase at Leicester on Wednesday, never ran in a point-to-point in this country but was in training at one stage with Jamie Sloan.
The now seven-year-old Flemensfirth gelding, who was bred in Co Kildare by dual Irish Olympics event rider Virginia McGrath, was purchased as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland in 2015 for €50,000 by Richard Rohan whose Ballincurrig House Stud, acting on behalf of Fiona Magee, consigned him back to the same sales ring as a three-year-old when he was purchased for €85,000 by Ian Ferguson.
As the bay is a half-brother to the brilliant but ill-fated Simonsig, it was little surprise to learn that this Derby Sale graduate had been purchased on behalf of Ronnie Bartlett whose colours he first carried to victory in a novice hurdle at Newbury in November 2020.
On his only other start before Wednesday, Dusart finished third in the Grade 1 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last April.