28th January 2021
Nicky Henderson is adamant ALTIOR will be going to The Champion Chase, despite yard jockey Nico de Boinville hoping to try the horse over further in the Ryanair Chase. Altior won the Champion Chase in 2018 and 2019 but has suffered defeat twice in his last three starts and missed last season’s Festival through injury. Nicky said: “There’s lots of conjecture about whether he’ll run in the Champion Chase or the Ryanair, but unless something categorically comes up and says this horse wants two-and-a-half-miles, I’m expecting to run him in the Champion Chase. Nico de Boinville is very keen to go two and a half, but I do think – and maybe I’m in dreamland – that there is something about him just at the moment that is different to how he was before Christmas. He’s gone back to doing all his work with his head on the floor. He always used to do that and it was noticeable earlier in the year that he was carrying it much higher, like a normal horse. Now he’s gone back to tanking along with his head down and I’m very pleased to see him like that. He’ll always go through that spot in a race where you think ‘are you going all right’, but he soon answers the question – and I don’t think he’s lost that.”
He is currently 8/1 (7/1 NRNB) and he can be backed at 16-1 for the Ryanair (8/1 NRNB).
27th January 2021
A PLUS TARD is priced up at 16/1 for The Ryanair and 10/1 for his apparently preferred target, The Gold Cup. He recorded his highest RPR (172+) on his second attempt at 3m+ in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, wearing a first-time tongue-tie. His race was easier with the falls of the first and second favourites, but he raced strongly and finished powerfully to beat Kemboy by ½l. Henry De Bromhead said “…needed every inch of the 3-mile distance” and, in this sad year for owners, Cheveley Park Stud, it might be difficult to resist The Gold Cup. His stamina appears to be improving with age and, his chances should not be underestimated – even if de Bromhead runs MINELLA INDO (fell when favourite in The Savills). He is generally 8s NRNB for both Ryanair and Gold Cup