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Constitution Hill won the Champion Hurdle by nine clear lengths, but he was a lot closer to defeat than we first realised

Many punters would have been ecstatic seeing the bookies clear favourite Constitution Hill win the Champion Hurdles by a clear nine-length distance on Tuesday.

At 4-11, he was the shortest-priced winner in the history of the Champion Hurdles and is now already the odds-on favourite for next year’s event.

But what people wouldn’t have noticed, is that we were just a mere few inches away from a repeat of the infamous Annie Power fall in 2015.

Annie Power was one of the clear favourites and just like Constitution Hill, was leading by some distance before the horse mistakenly jumped too early over the final hurdle, causing the mare to crash forward and reportedly saved the bookies around £50million.

Luckily, Annie Power wasn’t seriously hurt, and was able to continue racing until her retirement in 2017, but other horses in the past haven’t been as fortunate, such as Malinello on the very same day.

In the last 20 years, 70 horses have now lost their lives due to accidents at the Cheltenham festival.

Some may respond asking, ‘what about the other 20 horses that made the jump fine’, but that shouldn’t be enough to justify the potential death of one.

Retired jockey Liz Kelly took to twitter to start the discussion following Constitution Hill’s near miss and while some suggested that race times could be changed to adapt to the weather and shadows, however, I feel a better alternative would be to have small, dimly lit lights on the hurdles to prevent shadows occurring.

Simply just by implementing a cheap lighting system, even temporary, could go a long way in preventing future accidents and should definitely be considered by all racecourses.

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