Henrietta Knight hails Constitution Hill and Nicky Henderson as the people's champs
As the trainer of the unforgettable Best Mate, Knight has experience of her own when it comes to handling the career of a top-class horse that the racing public have taken to their hearts.
Best Mate achieved the incredible feat of three successive Gold Cups between 2002 and 2004 and is immortalised not only in a life-sized bronze sculpture at Cheltenham, but also holds a permanent place in racing lore. Like horses such as Red Rum and Arkle before him, he was the poster boy of National Hunt racing during his era and became a figure that even the totally unversed were drawn to - something that is now beginning to happen with Constitution Hill. "I think racing and the country like to have a horse they can associate with and he is that horse," Knight said of Henderson's Unibet Champion Hurdle hotpot. "I think he is the horse that will capture the imagination of the people rather like Best Mate did. He was the people's horse and I think that is what Constitution Hill is becoming. "He is on everybody's lips and he is the first horse that is mentioned when it comes to Cheltenham. "He has not run many times, but what he has done has been spectacular. At the moment the sky seems to be the limit. "I think it is the ease with which he has been winning his races that makes him stand out. "He is very important for jump racing, and for the sport as a whole. He is the young pretender and this is what we need, a horse like this, and I think it is very important we have a horse like this." Knight also feels Constitution Hill's trainer has earned a similar status in the affections of the racing fraternity, with Henderson one of the best and best-liked figures in the sport. She said: "From the days of having Best Mate it is very exciting as you are sitting on a crown jewel. Nicky is a top trainer and he deserves a really good horse like this again. "It is lovely for him and it definitely adds to the story. "Constitution Hill is starting to become the people's horse and Nicky is the people's trainer."
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