Fri, 07 Feb 2020
SEVEN Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson believes the timing is perfect for stable star Altior to return to action.
The 10-year-old hasn’t run since suffering defeat in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot in November, to the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname.
Despite the defeat, Henderson is expecting Altior to bounce back when he lines up in the Betfair Exchange Chase (Game Spirit) at Newbury on Saturday.
Henderson said: “He has been in good form, he has schooled and no horse in England would keep up with him with what he was doing the other day.
“If you blinked you would have missed him, but that’s him and he was like that earlier on in the season.
“He has won this race at Newbury before and the timing is great for us.”
Henderson felt that the challenge at Ascot came too early for both horses due to it being their first run of the season.
He said: “He does his work as well as ever, but I think Ascot didn’t help either horse at the end of the day.
“The problem was that it was the first run of the season and if you do it later on then it’s fine.
“It took us a long time to get over it.”
The defeat was Altior’s first over obstacles and ended his 19-race winning streak, but Henderson knows he can prove himself at Newbury as he bids to win the Exchange Chase for a third straight year.
He said: “He has to prove himself again and I think he can.
“He has been beaten once in a 2m 5f race in the bog when he probably wasn’t half ready for it.
“He got beat, it was going to happen and that was the day it was going to happen because it was a hard race and he was very tired.”
Henderson admitted: “We weren’t prepared and that was my fault, but it was as fit as we could get him with it being his first time out.
“You don’t normally expect to come into that sort of clash in your first appearance.”
The Lambourn trainer has moved Altior to a different box at Seven Barrows in an attempt to continue his recovery.
He said: “I wanted to keep the rug off him for as much as possible because he had an abscess on his wither.
“It is warmer and because of that we are able to keep the wither uncovered and he looks well now, it’s all fine.”
As well as Altior, Henderson will have several other horses running on Super Saturday at Newbury this weekend.
Among the many, Never Adapt will attempt to win the featured Betfair Hurdle and Henderson is confident,
He said: “She is in good form, she ran well at Kempton, but she has taken an awful lot of time to learn to settle down.
“But she has done everything right this year and she has learned to race properly.”
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