A fascinating duel (seemingly) on paper as Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite ALTIOR
puts his unbeaten record on the line after nine months off and a wind operation that halted his return to action before Christmas. Nicky Henderson's charge was every inch a superstar last term and will take some stopping if he's able to run to the level he showed when careering away with this contest a year ago. In his absence, Politologue
has been making hay. He was game to win the Tingle Creek early in December and had no trouble following up at Kempton over Christmas. His trainer knows better than most what a top-tier 2m chaser looks like and is very sweet on the much-improved seven-year-old's prospects this spring. Make no mistake, if the favourite is in any way undercooked, his veneer of invincibility over jumps could be smashed. The long-absent Valdez
surely requires some ill-fate on his rivals to have any chance and connections will be thrilled if he can put in a decent round and come home with the future in mind.