'We've had a traumatic few days' - Constitution Hill in veterinary hospital to monitor suspected colic

Nico de Boinville riding Constitution Hill easily win the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton
Constitution Hill: unbeaten hurdler has been in veterinary hospitalCredit: Alan Crowhurst

Nicky Henderson has revealed his star hurdler Constitution Hill has been in veterinary hospital since Wednesday night in order to monitor suspected colic.

The six-time champion trainer said the seven-time Grade 1 winner was "not completely out of the woods" but expressed hope he would be able to return to Seven Barrows in the coming days.

It means Constitution Hill, the highest-rated hurdler in training, is now an extremely unlikely runner at Punchestown.

A statement from Henderson on X read: "We've had a few traumatic days with poor Constitution Hill as he had to go to the veterinary hospital on Wednesday night in order to monitor suspected colic. I'm pleased to say that they have managed to avoid surgery so far and this morning he is being reintroduced to a normal diet and if this goes well he could come home in the next day or so. 

"We're not completely out of the woods but very hopeful that he'll soon be back which will be an enormous relief. 

"This will obviously interfere with our plan to get to Punchestown which is very sad but the only important thing at the moment is to get him safely home."

Nicky Henderson at the Cheltenham Festival
Nicky Henderson: issued the update on XCredit: Patrick McCann
Last season's electric Champion Hurdle winner was unable to defend his crown at the Cheltenham Festival after he returned unsatisfactory blood test results in the build up to the race. He also missed his trial race in January due to a poor scope.

Michael Buckley's eight-time winner has raced only once this season, winning Kempton's Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

Henderson has endured a torrid time lately and pulled out a number of his leading chances at the Cheltenham Festival, including Jonbon, Shishkin and Sir Gino, due to lacklustre performances from stablemates.

He went without a winner at the festival for the first time since 2008 and has endured his worst March since Racing Post records began in 1988, with just two successes from 31 runners.

Paddy Power have pushed Constitution Hill out to 5-2 (from 13-8) for the 2025 Champion Hurdle.

What is colic?

Colic is a term used to describe the clinical signs of abdominal pain in a horse. Horses are particularly sensitive to pain originating from the abdomen and are only able to respond clinically in a particular way. 

The anatomy of the horse's intestinal system and its complexity add to the susceptibility of this syndrome. Those clinical signs will include looking uncomfortable, pawing at the ground, increased heart rate, sweating, flank watching and frequently lying down and continuously rolling. These are all indications that the horse has some sort of abdominal pain. That pain may be because of distension of the gut from gas or an impact from fibrous food, all the way through to a twisted bowel, which may be fatal if not surgically treated.

Read these next:

'Lots of people rolled along with her story and were captured by it. She’s irreplaceable, it’s just gut-wrenching'  

'They just never activated at all' - Aidan O'Brien on Auguste Rodin's Meydan no-show 

Dual Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle produces filly foal by Walk In The Park 

Sign up to receive On The Nose, our essential daily newsletter, from the Racing Post. Your unmissable morning feed, direct to your email inbox every morning.

James StevensWest Country correspondent

Published on 31 March 2024inBritain

Last updated 13:35, 31 March 2024