King George An Option For Altior take on Altior in Champion Chase


Nicky Henderson has suggested that Altior will be a realistic contender for the King George VI Chase in 2019 after the brilliant chaser made it 16 successive wins in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Thursday.

Unbeaten over fences, there was a feeling of ‘dress rehearsal’ about the race as Altior tested himself over the Kempton fences, with the Seven Barrows trainer having mulled the prospect of stepping the brilliant two-miler up in trip for the Boxing Day showpiece this season, before eventually siding with caution.

However, Henderson says if Altior comes through this season unscathed – with Ascot’s Clarence House next up before the Queen Mother Champion Chase defence at Cheltenham in March and, possibly, one more run – then he’ll have to think about going up in trip next year aged nine.

“If he comes through this season holding his crown then you would think about the King George next year,” Henderson said. “But it is a big step from two miles up to three.

“It has to be one step at a time. We thought about the King George this year. We might have been wimps, but it is a joy to watch him doing that and I think everyone likes to see a horse do that.”

For now, the champion trainer is simply relishing having such a majestic jumper in his care. Altior is 2/5 with Betfred to win a second Queen Mother crown in March following his latest splendid round of jumping.

The comparisons with Sprinter Sacre, himself a two-time Champion Chaser, are already clear.

“Nico [de Boinville, jockey] said you will not go quicker on lovely ground and yet he had to take pulls on him all the way through – he has so many gears. He’s got it all,” Henderson added.

“It’s been an amazing story from Sprinter Sacre retiring and being lucky enough within a year to have found another one who’s getting very close to what he could do.”

Min, second in last year’s renewal is 7/1 to win the Queen Mother at Cheltenham in March, while Footpad is now 8/1 with Betfred following his second defeat of the season at Leopardstown on Thursday.

Odds subject to change.

This post first appeared here

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