Nicky Henderson anticipates the results of the Christy 1965 Chase to go a long way to discovering what the future holds for Altior since he prepares for a mouthwatering clash with Cyrname.
Unbeaten in 19 starts over jumps as a superstar of this game has been procured, however on Saturday in Ascot he faces arguably his toughest assignment so far.
Having won the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the Arkle, the Tingle Creek and a couple of Queen Mother Champion Chases, connections have decided the time is right to step beyond 2 kilometers into the test and unknown Altior.
This weekend Grade 2 is viewed as the to a potential tilt in the King George VI Chase over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day — but Henderson has stressed all future plans hinge on how Altior performs in Berkshire.
Stamina will be the situation. Nico (p Boinville) has always thought he had been racing in the end of last season as if he wanted another half a mile, and on Saturday he will get another five furlongs, said that the Seven Barrows handler.
It will examine his stamina, I am sure. He does not work like a stayer, so let us hope he is correct, however, Nico is adamant he needs it.
Weve got to give it a try and were starting over two-miles-five, which I expect will lead us into 3 miles. Goodness knows what happens if it does not, as we have abandoned the Tingle Creek behind.
Everything I want to do is win, however it has to be persuasive, too. He wants to prove that he can do this and siphoned off. Itll tell us exactly what to do and where were going, theres not any doubt about this.
We will have to find out what happens daily. We will take it on the chin if it goes the wrong way — that he must have defeated one day and this time were putting him to the test.
After Henderson recognized Ascot because Altiors likely starting point, he probably expected his presence would frighten off the opposition.
However he faces a significant rival, together with his demolition of Waiting Patiently in the Ascot Chase over this route and distance of February ensuring that he finished last season as the highest-rated chaser of Britain — a pound of Altior.
Henderson said:They were always coming here and are we. I dont believe either people are shirkers of battles and theres nowhere else to go.
I really dont want to await the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon (December 8) since it is getting quite near Kempton. That race may not have told you a good deal. It may have been a simpler choice, but we are not searching for this.
Even though it was not sufficient to stop him sauntering to success from the Clarence House Chase on his final visit Altior jumped left at many of his fences.
Henderson added:He did it (jumped left) at Ascot when he was on his own. I really dont expect him to do this but Nico will probably be awake to the fact he did it.
I really dont see this being an issue. Nobody can forecast whats going to occur, but well be watching carefully when he turns out that mountain
Whatever occurs, Henderson has triumphed his bill will bid for a Champion Chase hat-trick or move for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory at Prestbury Park in March, instead of run within an intermediate distance in the Ryanair.
He said:Saturday is not likely to tell us whos about to do things at Cheltenham. I will have a pound into a brick that they (Altior and Cyrname) wont be meeting each other at the Ryanair Chase.
As much as the Ryanair is a fantastic race, Id rather come back to two (kilometers ) if that is a requirement
Nicholls isnt one to shy away from a challenge and will be looking forward to watching Cyrname test his powers against Altior.
He said:Of course were looking ahead. Its the beginning of a season for him and it didnt matter what was about to run against him, we were going to operate here.
Its a nice place to start the season, however its not about Saturday, theres a lengthy season with great races on the way.
We are looking forward to this, though, and the fact it is at Ascot has to be in his favour. He has been so impressive there the last two — which is why were going back.
The only other runner is Dan Skeltons Solomon Grey.
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