Champion Chase favourite Altior reported in tremendous form ahead of Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury

Last Updated February 10 2018, 15:44Racing
Nicky Henderson with Altior
Nicky Henderson with Altior

View from connections ahead of Saturday's Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury, featuring Nicky Henderson on Altior.

Ground conditions are Nicky Henderson's main concern ahead of Altior's long-awaited return in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on Saturday.

A dual Cheltenham Festival winner after landing the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy, the eight-year-old is unbeaten in 11 starts over jumps and is a hot favourite to claim glory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Altior has not been seen in competitive action so far this season after a breathing problem was discovered during his preparation for the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December.

But that issue was rectified by a wind operation and Henderson is looking forward to getting him back on the racecourse, even if he is nervous about the prospect of testing terrain.

Speaking at Kempton on Friday, Henderson said: "The ground is obviously the biggest concern, but this time last year we were umming and ahhing whether to run him in the race because of the ground and we had a sleepless night. We so nearly didn't run him then but he was perfectly all right.


The Super Saturday Racing Podcast
The Super Saturday Racing Podcast


"We had a lot of rain last night. Newbury had a fair bit. They've got the covers on and it is going to freeze tonight. It could be horrible ground. Of course that is a worry as he is such a talented horse and better horses go on better ground.

"This is all about the Queen Mother, not about tomorrow. He has got to have a run and if I can we will run. We have every intention of running. This is important and he has never been beaten (over jumps), but he has got to get beaten one day.

"He is very good but he has got a long way to go yet. We have had no hiccups and everything has gone according to plan except for the rain."

Altior will have to be on his game if he is to make a successful reappearance in a race better known as the Game Spirit, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue a more-than-worthy opponent.

In Altior's absence, the seven-year-old grey has been the star of the two-mile chasing division this season, winning the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, the Tingle Creek and the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Owner John Hales said: "Whatever happens on Saturday won't necessarily happen at the Festival because it will be on a different day on a different track and different ground Obviously Altior is a very good horse, he's unbeaten over fences and is a fantastic horse - it will be some race."

With Colin Tizzard's Fox Norton a notable absentee, the three-runner field is completed by the long-absent Valdez.

Related horse racing links

Most Read Racing

Oli Bell selects his Yankee for Saturday's racing1

Oli Bell's Saturday Yankee

After three winners from four last week, ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell is hoping to land a knockout blow with his Saturday Yankee.

Check out Ben Linfoot's Value Bets this Saturday2

Value Bet: Designer Label

Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets in the Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton and the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle.

Trainer Paul Nicholls3

Saturday's racing preview

Anita Chambers provides a selection for every race on Saturday, with Paul Nicholls set to strike in the feature at Kempton.

Khalidi can go close at Lingfield4

Simon Holt: Art attack

Racing commentator Simon Holt previews the feature action at three meetings on Saturday, with Khalidi fancied at Lingfield and Art Mauresque on the radar at Kempton.

Last year's stars Buveur D'Air, Sizing John and Un De Sceaux5

Cheltenham Festival schedule, tips & guide

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival gets under way on March 13 and we've got all the tips and information you need ahead of the four-day spectacular.

Most Read Racing

Oli Bell selects his Yankee for Saturday's racing1

Oli Bell's Saturday Yankee

After three winners from four last week, ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell is hoping to land a knockout blow with his Saturday Yankee.

Check out Ben Linfoot's Value Bets this Saturday2

Value Bet: Designer Label

Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets in the Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton and the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle.

Trainer Paul Nicholls3

Saturday's racing preview

Anita Chambers provides a selection for every race on Saturday, with Paul Nicholls set to strike in the feature at Kempton.

Khalidi can go close at Lingfield4

Simon Holt: Art attack

Racing commentator Simon Holt previews the feature action at three meetings on Saturday, with Khalidi fancied at Lingfield and Art Mauresque on the radar at Kempton.

Last year's stars Buveur D'Air, Sizing John and Un De Sceaux5

Cheltenham Festival schedule, tips & guide

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival gets under way on March 13 and we've got all the tips and information you need ahead of the four-day spectacular.

Next Race Off
09:15 Bangalore
2
(9)
Smile Of Courage
J: T S Jodha
12
(11)
Sante Fe
J: P Mani
1
(2)
Princess Holly
J: P Kiran Rai
5
(6)
Epona
J: R Rayan Ahmed
11
(4)
Zip Code
J: Irvan Singh
8
(7)
Romantic Haven
J: Janardhan Paswan
9
(3)
Aleef
J: Sai Kiran
6
(10)
Purity
J: Mudassar Nazar
4
(1)
Delight
J: Syed Imran
3
(12)
Aqua Blessing
J: Shobhan Babu
7
(8)
Regal Realm
J: Sunil Samson
10
(5)
Flashy Touch
J: S Chetan Kalay

Racing Tips

Check out Ben Linfoot's Value Bets this Saturday

Value Bet: Designer Label

Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bets in the Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton and the Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle.

Khalidi can go close at Lingfield

Simon Holt: Art attack

Racing commentator Simon Holt previews the feature action at three meetings on Saturday, with Khalidi fancied at Lingfield and Art Mauresque on the radar at Kempton.

Trainer Paul Nicholls

Saturday's racing preview

Anita Chambers provides a selection for every race on Saturday, with Paul Nicholls set to strike in the feature at Kempton.