PUNTERS are salivating over the ‘race of the year’ after Willie Mullins confirmed two of his big guns will take on Constitution Hill.
Racing was split after Nicky Henderson confirmed his unbeaten superstar will remain over hurdles.
Impaire Et Passe was a runaway winner of the Ballymore and now, along with State Man, looks set to take on Constitution Hill in what could be the ‘race of the year’Sportsfile
But as soon as bookies reacted by slashing his price to a best 1-2 to defend his crown, Closutton supremo Mullins came out with some shock news.
It’s fair to say almost everyone thought runaway Ballymore winner Impaire Et Passe would go chasing.
But Mullins confirmed he will stay over smaller obstacles and, along with State Man, take on Constitution Hill next March.
He said: “Impaire Et Passe will stay over hurdles.
“It’s going to be exciting to see what he can do out of novice company.
“Ballymore winners have a good record in the Champion Hurdle the following season, it has worked out to be a very good trial over the years.
“The last time I spoke to Simon (Munir, owner), everyone seemed keen to stay over hurdles so that was fine by me.
“State Man stays over hurdles.”
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Impaire Et Passe is an unbeaten dual Grade 1 winner who also claimed the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown last April.
Five-time Grade 1 winner State Man was a well-beaten ninth when taking on Constitution Hill in last year’s Champion Hurdle.
Markets reacted by making Impaire Et Passe as short as 9-2 for Festival day one feature, with State Man a best-price 8-1.
After last year’s demolition job by Constitution Hill, punters were loving the prospect of Impaire Et Passe serving it up to the six-year-old.
Reacting to the news the two Mullins runners will remain over hurdles, one said they could not wait for the ‘race of the year’.
While another said: “Great news. Impaire Et Passe will give Constitution Hill a race.”
And a fellow Twitter user wrote: “Willie knows exactly what it’s going to take to beat Con Hill.
“Impaire Et Passe must be an absolute airplane if he is willing to take him on.”
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