Nicky Henderson expects the outcome of this Christy 1965 Chase to go a long way to discovering exactly what the future holds for Altior since he begs for a clash with Cyrname.
Unbeaten at 19 starts over jumps as a bona fide superstar of this game has long been procured, however he faces his toughest assignment to date.
Having won the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the Arkle, the Tingle Creek plus a few Queen Mother Champion Chases, relations have determined that the time is appropriate to step into the unknown and evaluation Altior beyond two kilometers.
The two-mile-five-furlong Grade Two of this weekend is viewed as the ideal stepping-stone to a tilt in the King George VI Chase — but Henderson has stressed all future strategies hinge on how Altior performs in Berkshire.
Stamina is going to be the matter. Nico (de Boinville) has consistently thought he had been racing at the end of last season as though he wanted another half a mile, and on Saturday he is going to find a second five furlongs, said the Seven Barrows handler.
It will test his endurance, Im sure. Nico is determined he wants it, so let us hope he is correct, although he doesnt work as a stayer.
Weve got to give it a go and were beginning over two-miles-five, which I expect will lead us to three miles. Goodness knows what happens if it does not, as we have left the Tingle Creek behind.
Everything I want to do is win, but it needs to be persuasive, too. He wants to prove that he can do this and gallop away. Itll tell us where we are going and what to do, there is little doubt about that.
We will have to find out what happens on the day. Well take it on the chin if it goes the incorrect way — that he must have beaten one day and this time were putting him to the test
After Henderson recognized Ascot as the likely starting point of Altior, he probably hoped the opposition would be scared off by his existence.
Nonetheless, in the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname he faces some significant rival, together with his 17-length demolition of Waiting Patiently in the Ascot Chase within space and this route of February ensuring that he finished last year as Britains highest-rated chaser — a pound of Altior.
Henderson explained:Theyre constantly coming and are we. I dont think either people there is nowhere else to move and are shirkers of battles.
I dont want to wait for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon (December 8) as it is getting quite near Kempton. That race may not have told you a lot. It might have been an easier choice, but we are not searching for it.
Although it wasnt sufficient to stop him sauntering to victory in the Clarence House Chase on his last visit Altior jumped left many of his possessions.
Henderson added:He did it (jumped left) in Ascot when he was on his very own. I dont expect him to do that , but Nico would probably be alert to the truth that he did it there before.
I really dont see this being a problem. Nobody can forecast whats going to occur, but we will be watching closely when he turns out that mountain
Whatever happens, Henderson has hinted his bill opt in Prestbury Park in March for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory or will bid for a Champion Chase hat-trick, instead of run over an intermediate distance in the Ryanair.
He explained:Saturday is not likely to tell us who is going to do anything at Cheltenham. I will have a pound to a brick which they (Altior and Cyrname) wont be meeting every other in the Ryanair Chase.
Just as the Ryanair is a wonderful race, Id rather return to 2 (kilometers ) if thats a requirement
Nicholls isnt one to shy away from a battle and is currently looking forward to seeing his powers are tested by Cyrname against Altior.
He said:Of course were looking forward to it. It is the beginning of a brand new time for him and it didnt matter what was about to run , we were going to run here.
Its a great spot to start the season, however it isnt all about Saturday, there is a lengthy season with good races along the way.
We are looking forward to it, though, and the fact it is at Ascot must maintain his favour. Hes been so impressive there the last two — that is why were going back.
The other runner would be the Solomon Grey of Dan Skelton.
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