The Champion Hurdle is already being talked up as a big clash between the awesome Honeysuckle and rising star Constitution Hill. This is already a battle to savour but there could be a new kid on the block who can spoil the party. Paul Nicholls’ Knappers Hill entered the Champion Hurdle picture with an authoritative victory over Sceau Royal at Wincanton on Saturday. A progressive six-year-old, he’s certainly going the right way. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
On the face of it, Knappers Hill winning the Champion Hurdle would be a ridiculous notion. There’s a long way to go before even running him would be justified. His trainer is taking it one step at a time and certainly hasn’t ruled out a crack at the big race. Nicholls said: ‘He just keeps galloping and improving. That was the next step up the ladder.’ Obviously his rating of 146 leaves him with plenty to find with Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill who are rated 165 and 170 respectively. It’s worth noting that he will go up significantly for his display in the Elite Hurdle on Saturday.
Whilst his task is monumental, it’s not an impossible one. Knappers Hill was an excellent bumper horse, winning Aintree’s Grade 2 in April 2021. Expectations were understandably high for his novice hurdle campaign and he didn’t quite deliver. Perhaps immaturity was a factor as he has elevated his form to a new level this season. Likely to improve further with more racing, the sky’s the limit for him. It’ll be fascinating to see how far he can go and how close he gets to the summit. The answer is probably no, he can’t win the Champion Hurdle. He does however, retain the potential to compete and even go close if his progression continues at it’s current rate.
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