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WATCH: Upping The Ante: Constitution Hill gets high praise

Like everyone else in racing, the Upping The Ante team are considering the implications of Constitution Hill's devastating display of brilliance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. 

On this week's episode of the flagship Cheltenham Festival preview show, David Jennings and Johnny Dineen review the action from last week before looking ahead to this weekend's top cards at Aintree, Sandown and Fairyhouse.

They share their weekly charity bets before finishing off with the all-important ante-post Cheltenham Festival selections. We've picked out some of the best bets from the latest episode of Upping The Ante in association with bet365.

Constitution Hill: Believe the hype says Johnny 

Nicky Henderson suggested Constitution Hill was 'freakishly good' following his Fighting Fifth Hurdle win at Newcastle on Saturday and Upping The Ante pundit Johnny Dineen is in agreement with that assessment.

Constitution Hill is already 4/7 to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, with two-time reigning champion Honeysuckle now 4/1.

In this week's Questions From The Crowd, Johnny was asked who he'd fancy in a hypothetical clash between Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, Faugheen and Constitution Hill. Though the other trio have six Champion Hurdles between them – the Seven Barrows inmate gets the call.

"I know you can say there is a recency bias, and there probably is, but to me you couldn't find superlatives to describe what he did on Saturday," say Johnny.

"I'll put it this way, the way he started off and went to the first hurdle on Saturday – I could never in my life envisage a horse coming from behind him to win. The way he did everything perfectly.

"I don't care who it is, I couldn't see any horse giving him two lengths out the gate and beating him. On pure raw ability, I'm going Constitution Hill." 

Jet Powered display impresses

Johnny's Performance of the Week went to another Nicky Henderson inmate, Jet Powered, with Constitution Hill omitted from the running as he had more likely delivered a 'performance of the century' instead!

Jet Powered lived up to his name and price tag – he cost the Donnelly's in excess of 300,000 gns – as he sauntered clear of Dan Skelton's Ittack Blue, another expensive purchase, for a winning hurdles bow at Newbury. 

"To say he won with a swagger is underestimating it. You'd nearly have thought it was Shiskin running in a maiden hurdle with the colours and everything," says Dineen.

"It's very hard to form an opinion [on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle] until Willie Mullins puts his cards on the table and we see what he's got. We don't know how good Facile Vega is and until Jet Powered runs again, or runs again something reasonable, we won't know how good he is either." 

Jet Powered is 5/1 to land the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, with last season's impressive Champion Bumper hero Facile Vega priced at 7/4 for Mullins. 

Proper Grade 1 weekend ahead 

This coming weekend is stacked with classy racing in both Britain and Ireland. The Tingle Creek at Sandown headlines on Saturday alongside the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, with David Jennings very sweet on the hopes of 7/4 Ahoy Senor for Lucinda Russell in the Merseyside race. 

"He's going to win," says DJ. "Don't tell me I'm wrong here am I?" as Johnny found it hard to agree.

"Look if he's back to his best he'll probably win yeah, definitely," he counters. "But he's got to put a horrible effort in the Charlie Hall Chase behind him now.

"Ahoy Senor if he gets into a rhythm in front could be hard to beat all right but I'd be leaving him…after the way he ran the last day." 

DJ stuck to his guns, adding: "I'm more forgiving than Johnny – I think he'll go off odds-on [at Aintree]."

On Sunday, it's a trio of Grade 1 contests from Ireland, including the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse where unbeaten mare Honeysuckle is scheduled for his seasonal return for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. 

Bello the boy for Nicholls in Brown Advisory 

In this week's ante-post Festival selections, Dineen was aiming for a race where Ireland's champion trainer might be vulnerable and, after seeing a leading UK-trained hope flop this week, he fancies 20/1 Gelino Bello for Paul Nicholls.

"I was looking for a race where Willie Mullins may not have a big stranglehold, one that he may not even win," says Johnny.

"In the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase, I can't have Thyme Hill anymore after his run this week - he's gone – and I had a good look down through it and landed on Gelino Bello.

"When the runners were up for the race Thyme Hill ran in, he was first choice, obviously Harry Cobden thinks he's a better horse than [winner] McFabulous.

"He's twice run over hurdles around Cheltenham behind Blazing Khal – and he could be anything. He won a three-mile Grade 1 novice over hurdles so he'll stay and he will like spring ground. 

"He jumped well at Wetherby and won easily enough. I think he's a fair tool and he's a decent price." 

David Jennings meanwhile added 16/1 Comfort Zone in the Triumph Hurdle to his ante-post portfolio after he won a Navan maiden on soft ground under JJ Slevin, turning over odds-on favourite Tekao in the same JP McManus colours for Willie Mullins. 

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