Constitution Hill proved himself to be ‘freakishly’ good as he sauntered to Grade One glory in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.
The five-year-old is unbeaten under rules and was a 1/4 chance going into the Grade One, odds that did not look unfounded as he made all of the running and jumped with complete fluency.
Partnered by Nico de Boinville, he pulled clear of stablemate and two-time winner Epatante, crossing the line at a canter to win by 12 lengths with any amount in hand.
Paddy Power cut Constitution Hill from evens to 8/11 favourite for the Champion Hurdle, with Coral going 4/7 from 5/4 for the Cheltenham highlight.
Speaking from Newbury, trainer Nicky Henderson told RacingTV: “He’s a freak. I was worried it was going to be a silly tactical race so I told Nico to just go and have fun.
“The way he quickened up, even I was impressed.”
A jubilant De Boinville told Sky Sports Racing: “That was very straightforward, he’s a joy to ride and so slick over his hurdles now. He’s got it all. He’d be the slickest I’ve ridden over a hurdle.
“It’s amazing to see so many people here, he’s beginning to get a real following. My celebration was to salute the fact everybody came to see him. It’s what the game needs.
“We were unsure about Not So Sleepy and didn’t want a repeat of two years ago, so it was just a case of getting the job done and keeping it simple.
“He’s an ultimate professional.
“The scary thing is, he would jump a fence if you asked him. He’s got the scope to do that. For now, we’re concentrating on this year.”