Altior to target the Champion Chase at the Festival

Altior has won each of the last two renewals of the Champion Chase.
Altior has won each of the last two renewals of the Champion Chase.

Nicky Henderson has confirmed that Altior will be aimed at the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, having ruled him out of a run at Kempton on Saturday.

The ten-year-old was set for a run in the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase over two and a half miles, but Henderson took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to rule him out of the engagement, explaining that his star still wasn’t 100 per-cent. 

He later released a full statement on his blog for his sponsors Unibet, which read: “Altior owes us nothing at all, so our one and only priority is his wellbeing. It would be unkind to run him if he isn’t at his brilliant best. 

“I would like to add that his blood test yesterday was perfect and he is very well within himself, but this is a case of instinct, and our instinct tells us that he just doesn’t look as good as he can do. 

“He will be given 10 days on the ‘easy list’ and spend some time on the water treadmill. We’ll throw everything at him to get him right so we’ll tuck him up and give him the very best.”

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Henderson also added that Altior would have just one entry at the Cheltenham Festival in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, seemingly bringing to an end the experiment of stepping him up in trip. 

Altior stepped up to two and a half miles in the 1965 Chase at Ascot when last seen in November, surrendering his 19-race unbeaten record to Cyrname in the process, but Henderson has confirmed that it will be next month’s Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase over two miles for him next provided all is well, before attempting to win the Champion Chase for the third year in a row. 

Altior has remained unchanged as the 3/1 favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase following the news, with Defi Du Seuil the current 7/2 second favourite, while Chacun Pour Soi is available at around the 9/2 mark. 

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