CONSTITUTION Hill has been awarded an official rating of 170 for his performance at Cheltenham this year, making him the highest-rated novice hurdler since Anglo-Irish ratings were published together over 20 years ago. His rating puts him 5lb ahead of dual Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle, though she would be in receipt of a 7lb sex allowance should they meet on the track.
Explaining the figures at the launch of the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications on Thursday, BHA handicapper Andrew Mealor said: “The standout performance over hurdles in the latest season was undoubtedly Constitution Hill’s top-class effort in the Supreme at Cheltenham. Nicky Henderson’s charge has been awarded a rating of 170 for his 22 length defeat of subsequent Grade 1 winner Jonbon in a fast time, which makes him the first hurdler to rate 170+ in the end-of-season classifications since Champion Hurdle winner Espoir d’Allen in 2018/’19.
“Furthermore, 170 is the highest rating for a novice over hurdles since the Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications were founded in 1999/2000, eclipsing the 168 rating awarded to Iris’s Gift after he finished second to Baracouda as a novice in the 2003 Stayers’ Hurdle.
“Constitution Hill looks to have the world at his feet as he heads into open company next season, though star mare Honeysuckle should not be forgotten of course, having yet again done all that was asked of her in another unbeaten campaign, including a second success in the Champion Hurdle.
“As things stand, Honeysuckle’s figure of 165 plus her 7lb mares’ allowance gives her the edge on ratings over Constitution Hill, though that does not factor in the latter’s scope for further improvement after just three starts. A clash between the two should be one to savour next March.”
A Plus Tard, a thrilling winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, has been crowned the overall leading jumps horse.
The eight-year-old, trained for owner Cheveley Park Stud by Henry de Bromhead, went one better than he managed in the 2021 renewal of the Cheltenham showpiece, reversing the form with stablemate Minella Indo in spectacular fashion under Rachael Blackmore with a 15-length success.
That performance earned A Plus Tard a mark of 180, putting him 3lb clear of his rivals at the summit of the standings.
Another Cheveley Park Stud-owned star took runner-up honours, with Allaho handed a mark of 177 following dominant victories in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and the Punchestown Gold Cup the following month for trainer Willie Mullins.
Sharing third place is another Mullins runner, Energumene, with the highest-rated British-trained horse, Shishkin. Tied on 176, the pair served up one of the moments of the season when the latter got the better of the former by a length to land the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January, though Energumene’s Champion Chase success means the pair end the season inseparable, with their future meetings eagerly anticipated.
Although Irish-trained novice chasers Galopin Des Champs and Gentleman De Mee were top of their resepective divisions, BHA chase handicapper Martin Greenwood believes that the British novices are promising.
“Among an improved home performance at the Cheltenham Festival was the impressive winner L’Homme Presse. He is the best staying novice, but not overall, while Ahoy Senor, Bravesmangame and Edwardstone all had good campaigns and there is reasons to be cheerful for next season.”
180 A Plus Tard
173 Chacun Pour Soi
172 Clan Des Obeaux
172 Galopin Des Champs
170 Constitution Hill
164 Flooring Porter
163 Klassical Dream
162 Sire Du Berlais
161 Paisley Park
161 Thyme Hill