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Williams keen to test John Constable in Grade 1 company

John Constable (left) could take on Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air at Newcastle
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Evan Williams could step his useful hurdler John Constable up in class next month in the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

The Newcastle feature, which has been won by a host of star performers during its long and illustrious history, has attracted 12 entries this year, including the Nicky Henderson-trained Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air, who is expected to launch his 2017-18 campaign in the race.

Defi Du Seuil, My Tent Or Yours and Apple’s Jade also have the Fighting Fifth option, but Williams is keen to test the Dai Walters-owned John Constable in Grade 1 company.

“It depends on the ground but John Constable will probably go to Newcastle,” the trainer said on Wednesday.

“If it came up very soft I'd look at running my other horse, Clyne.”

He added: “We need to find out whether John Constable is up to this sort of class. He enjoyed a good summer in handicaps but the difference between those races and the top-grade events is massive.”

Clyne, who found only The New One three-quarters of a length too strong for him when runner-up in the Welsh Champion Hurdle first time out last month, could go for a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Haydock, but Newcastle remains an option.

“Haydock is a track where Clyne has done well,” said Williams. “The step up in trip there might help him. If it came up very, very soft at Newcastle we'd look at it.”

The Paul Nicholls-trained Irving is reportedly on course to attempt to emulate hurdle legends Comedy Of Errors and Bird’s Nest by becoming the third horse to win the race three times. Last year he beat Apple’s Jade by a nose in a thrilling finish, adding to his 2014 victory.

He enjoyed a good summer in handicaps but the difference between those races and the top-grade events is massive
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