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Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2023 predictions: Constitution Hill impossible to oppose
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Enda McElhinney
Racing Post
No challenger has finished nearer than 12 lengths to Constitution Hill, who looks primed for Champion Hurdle glory
No challenger has finished nearer than 12 lengths to Constitution Hill, who looks primed for Champion Hurdle glory

- This year's Cheltenham Festival takes place from March 14-17 
- The feature race on the first day is the Champion Hurdle 
- Recommended bets: 
- Constitution Hill to win 
- I Like To Move It each-way

The day one feature at the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle and the big race on March 14 is set to be headlined this year by National Hunt racing's pre-eminent superstar.

Constitution Hill will put his peerless record on the line in the Champion Hurdle for Nicky Henderson and it is going to take something special indeed to stop him.

Henderson star looks too good

Sometimes in major races like this one, there is a temptation to want to take the short-price favourite on but, this time, that looks a forlorn hope as CONSTITUTION HILL has displayed all the traits of being nigh-on unbeatable in his five-race career to date.

It is hard to believe it now, but Constitution Hill was second-favourite on his Sandown debut last season when he careered away from Might I for an easy win.

He won a Grade 1 novice back there in January 2022 and then broke the Old Course record en route to a simply stunning 22-length win in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at this meeting last March.

His Seven Barrows trainer elected to skip possible engagements at Aintree or Punchestown last spring.

This season, easy wins have been achieved in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton — both open Grade 1s.

In both instances, stablemate and former Champion Hurdler Epatante played second fiddle. 

Any suggestion the mare was past her best has since been quelled as she easily won a Doncaster Grade 2 against her own sex in January.

Constitution Hill has looked spell-binding in those wins this season and, worryingly for his opponents, he has not really come out of third gear. 

No horse has finished any closer to him than 12 lengths in his career to date and, on March 14, he should confirm himself as the best hurdler around, having been installed as the 2/7 favourite with LiveScore Bet.

Mullins star leads the challenge

Irish Champion Hurdle winner State Man is as short as 5/2 second-favourite with LiveScore Bet behind Constitution Hill following his Dublin Racing Festival win.

Willie Mullins' charge has improved this season for sure and will bring Festival-winning form to this meeting. 

He is the most compelling opponent Constitution Hill will have met this season but the market has clearly identified his chance. 

He got things very much his own way at the DRF last time and this is a much sterner test than anything he has ever faced.

Twiston-Davies challenger worth each-way interest

I Like To Move It looks to offer plenty of value following his Kingwell Hurdle win
I Like To Move It looks to offer plenty of value following his Kingwell Hurdle win

If there is one worth a second glance each-way then perhaps it is I LIKE TO MOVE IT for Nigel Twiston-Davies, winner of the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on his most recent start, and on offer at 22/1 with LiveScore Bet.

The six-year-old travelled in style and picked up powerfully to win by an impressive 17 lengths from good barometers in Knappers Hill and First Street.

He won the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November under top weight and the course and distance is clearly something that suits him well

Following his Kingwell win, his trainer was heard to usher: "We can't back away from [facing Constitution Hill] because there is nowhere else to go."

If there is one thing about the Naunton handler in his trainer career, it is that he has never been afraid to face a challenge head on.

He might not have the guns to topple the best jumps horse in training but do not be shocked if I Like To Move It matches the likes of the Twiston-Davies-trained pair Khyber Kim and The New One and finds his way into the Champion Hurdle frame.

Racing Post selection: Constitution Hill
Each-way contender: I Like To Move It

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