ITV Racing Tips: Constitution Hill to confirm rising star status in Tolworth
On the first Saturday of 2022, the latest card of jump racing comes from Sandown and Wincanton as some of the world’s top stables look to get their runners in form ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in March.
We can at least be grateful that turf racing goes ahead during a time of the year that can be vulnerable to the weather, so enabling Sandown to put on the latest appearance of Constitution Hill, the exciting novice hurdler who made such an eye-catching debut.
While he can confirm his Festival potential, he may not get a particularly searching examination in the Tolworth Hurdle, the Grade 1 race which is the stand-out contest of the eight races being shown by ITV.
Sandown, which also stages the final of the popular Veterans chase series, shares the day’s action with Wincanton, where even a Class 5 race has made it onto the schedule.
Coverage begins on ITV4 at 13:10 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Gunsight Ridge, runner-up to the New Year’s Day Dipper winner L’Homme Presse last time, is bound to have plenty of admirers on that evidence, but he is still a novice and could lack the experience for this challenge.
The 11-year-old Bun Doran is at the other end of the spectrum. having tumbled down the handicap to what should be a winnable mark. A year ago, he contested the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase. He has dropped 20lb since without running particularly badly and after two decent efforts at Cheltenham, he could take his turn again in the winners’ circle.
Constitution Hill made a mightily impressive debut in a Novice Hurdle over course and distance last month and was soon being hyped for Cheltenham success.
He is second favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and, even though this a Grade 1 race, we may not learn a lot more about his true potential until the Festival.
Newcomer Whizz Kid, winner of a Flat handicap in France last year, could be an interesting place candidate if his Flat form translates to jumps.
Many of the names will be familiar in this popular series which reaches its climax with this final. Aso is the class act, having twice been placed in the Ryanair Chase and fifth in last year’s Grand National.
Naturally he carries top weight and was even raised again for his most recent second place behind Blaklion. It’s going to be tough for him again under that burden and danger could lurk among the bottom weights where Indy Five has 10st.
He ran out a comfortable winner of the 3m handicap at Doncaster last time for which he has been raised 7lb and, even though he is 1lb out of the handicap, that may not be enough to stop him.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 8th January
13:30 Wincanton – 2m handicap hurdle
13:50 Sandown – 2m handicap chase
14:05 Wincanton – 2m handicap chase
14:25 Sandown – Tolworth Hurdle
14:40 Wincanton – 2m5f handicap hurdle
15:00 Sandown – Veterans handicap chase
15:15 Wincanton – 2m4f handicap chase
15:35 Sandown – 2m handicap hurdle
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.