Altior: Nicky Henderson is plotting a route back to the Cheltenham Festival
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 12:35PM 15 JAN 2017
NICKY HENDERSON has confirmed Altior will not run in Saturday’s Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase, with next month’s Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase his likely stepping stone to the Cheltenham Festival.
The former champion trainer reported the Ascot race will come too soon for Altior – who was a best-priced 9-2 for the Grade 1, and no bigger than 5-4 with a run – as his stable star has had an easy time of it since his impressive 18-length win in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
“Altior will not run in the Clarence House,” Henderson told the Racing Post on Sunday. “He has just finished his mid-winter break and it comes a bit soon, especially as it would mean putting him into a Grade 1 in open company.
“There are a few other options for him but the Game Spirit looks the most likely as I do like Newbury and the timings work well.”
If Altior does run in the Betfair Exchange-sponsored Grade 2 at Newbury it would be a repeat of the route Sprinter Sacre took from Kempton to Cheltenham when he won the Arkle back in 2012. Altior is a best-priced 5-4 for this year’s Racing Post-sponsored 2m novice championship event.
Vaniteux ‘extremely well’
Henderson also provided an update on Saturday’s Listed 32Red Casino Chase winner Vaniteux, who was the last horse left challenging Douvan in last year’s Arkle before falling at the second last.
“He’s come out of the race extremely well,” said Henderson. “It was the perfect race for him and these horses have got to have somewhere to run.
“He can’t really run in handicaps and he can’t really run in Grade 1s, he falls in between the two and so it’s great to find a race for him. I don’t know where he’ll go next, I’ll have to get into the programme book.”