Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle Update: A Plus Tard and Constitution Hill to return at Haydock and Ascot

Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Constitution Hill heads to Ascot for the Coral Hurdle
Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Constitution Hill heads to Ascot for the Coral Hurdle

We are set for a fabulous weekend of National Hunt racing this weekend at Haydock Park and Ascot and both venues have attracted a superstar performer as reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero A Plus Tard heads to the former for the Betfair Chase, while runaway Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Constitution Hill lines up in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot....

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Betfair Chase

A sensational 22-length winner of the Betfair Chase last season, A Plus Tard used that Haydock Park race as a perfect springboard to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory in March and the Henry De Bromhead-trained is currently a 4/1 second favourite for the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

A red-hot division this season sees the Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs spearhead the Gold Cup betting at the moment, but if A Plus Tard can emulate last season's stunning display in the Betfair Chase then he could launch to the summit of the betting for the blue riband event at the Cheltenham Festival.

Currently a best-priced 4/6 favourite for Saturday's Betfair Chase, A Plus Tard fans will be looking at the weather forecasts in the lead-up to the race as Haydock can get extremely testing when it rains hard in Lancashire and it could be that De Bromhead opts to bypass the event, but should A Plus Tard line up then he should have far too much class for his rivals.

Dan Skelton's Protektorat is the second favourite, at the time of writing, while multiple Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai and recent Badger Beers winner Frodon are two of the old stagers looking to take on A Plus Tard. Joe Tizzard's Eldorado Allen will complete the five-strong field and is available at double-figured odds in a race that should be dominated once again by the Irish raider, but De Bromhead is sure to leave plenty to work with over the coming months ahead of a Gold Cup bid again.

Coral Hurdle

An absolutely phenomenal winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Constitution Hill is already as short as 11/8 for the 2023 Champion Hurdle and Nicky Henderson's superstar is set to make his hotly-anticipated return to the track on Saturday when he heads to Ascot for the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle.

Obliterating stablemate Jonbon by 22 lengths in the Supreme back in March, the Seven Barrows raider will already have one eye on Honeysuckle in this year's Champion Hurdle and the Henderson team will look to kick off the new campaign with a win and he's a red-hot jolly for the Coral Hurdle. Installed as the 1/4 favourite for Saturday's event, Constitution Hill will take on the likes of Goshen and Brewin'upastorm, but neither of those smart performers should be able to lay a glove on the Henderson hotpot, who should breeze to victory.

A sensational cruising speed twinned with a sparkling turn of foot, Constitution Hill is one of the most exciting horses to hit the track in recent seasons and while he will step up in trip Saturday (2m 3f 58y) there will be one goal come the end of the season and that will be the Champion Hurdle. Honeysuckle has shown her class the last two years, and she will return in March to try and land the hat-trick, but this British raider is set to give her a huge test and hopefully he can kick off his season with a solid run at Ascot this weekend.

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