Nicky Henderson expects the results of this Christy 1965 Chase to go a long way to determining exactly what the future holds for Altior since he begs for a mouthwatering clash with Cyrname.
Unbeaten at 19 starts over jumps as a bona fide superstar of the sport has been secured, but on Saturday in Ascot he faces his toughest assignment so far.
Having won the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the Arkle, the Tingle Creek plus a couple of Queen Mother Champion Chases, relations have determined that the time is appropriate to step past two miles to the unknown and test Altior.
The two-mile-five-furlong Grade 2 of this weekend is viewed as the to a tilt at the King George VI Chase — but Henderson has stressed all strategies hinge on Altior performs in Berkshire.
Stamina is going to be the situation. Nico (de Boinville) has thought he was rushing in the end of last season as though he wanted the next half a mile, and on Saturday that he is going to get the following five furlongs, stated that the Seven Barrows handler.
It will check his endurance, I am sure. He does not work as a stayer, so let us hope hes correct but Nico is adamant he needs it.
We have got to give it a go and were beginning over two-miles-five, which I expect will lead us to three miles. Goodness knows exactly what happens when it doesnt, as weve left the Tingle Creek behind.
Everything I need to do is win, but it needs to be convincing, too. He needs to prove that he siphoned off and can do this. It will tell us what to do and where were going, theres not any doubt about this.
Well have to find out what happens on the day. Well take it on the chin if it goes the incorrect way — he must get defeated one day and this time we are putting him to the test
he probably expected the resistance would scare off when Henderson recognized Ascot because the likely starting point of Altior.
Nonetheless, in the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname he faces a significant rival, with his 17-length demolition of Waiting Patiently in the Ascot Chase within space and this course of February ensuring he ended last year as the highest-rated chaser of Britain — a pound transparent of Altior.
Henderson explained:They were always coming here and are we. I dont think either of us are shirkers of battles and there is nowhere else to move.
I dont want to await the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon (December 8) as it is getting quite close to Kempton. That race may not have told you a good deal. It might have been an easier option, however, we are not looking for that.
Even though it was not enough to prevent him sauntering to victory from the Clarence House Chase on his final trip Altior jumped left many of his possessions.
Henderson added:He did it (jumped left) in Ascot when he was on his own. I really dont expect him to do that but Nico will be alert to the truth that he did it there before.
I dont see it being a problem. No one can predict whats going to happen, but we will be watching carefully when he turns out that hill.
Whatever occurs, Henderson has hinted his bill will bid for a Champion Chase hat-trick or move in Prestbury Park in March for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory, instead of run an intermediate space in the Ryanair within.
He said:Saturday isnt going to tell us who is going to do anything at Cheltenham. I will have a pound into a brick which they (Altior and Cyrname) wont be meeting each other in the Ryanair Chase.
Just as the Ryanair is a fantastic race, Id rather come back to 2 (miles) if thats a requirement
Nicholls isnt one to shy from a challenge and is currently looking forward to seeing Cyrname test his powers against Altior, on a track which brings out the very best in his or her charge.
He said:Of course were looking ahead. It did not matter what was going to run and it is the beginning of a brand new season for him, we were always going to run here.
it is a nice place to begin the season, however it isnt all about Saturday, theres a very long season with great races on the way.
We are looking forward to it, though, and the fact it is at Ascot has to maintain his favour. He has been so striking that there the last two — thats why were heading back.
The only other runner is the Solomon Grey of Dan Skelton.
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