Henderson Seeks Ascot Date For Altior Before King George


Nicky Henderson's superstar Altior, who has been one of the most talented horses of a generation, is this season set to go outside of his comfort zone and step up in trip to three miles.

The world record breaking gelding looks likely to start his 19/20 season campaign off in the 1965 Chase in late November at Ascot with the biggest thing the nine year old needs to learn is stamina.

Altior has been strongly whispered to be heading to the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, risking his unbeaten record over the longest trip he has ever had to conquer, with the son of High Chaparral only ever going over 2 mile 2 furlongs as his furthest distance in the past.

For all of Altior's brilliance throughout his career and last season when constantly matching and in some runs bettering his performances in the biggest races in the season, he is still not the top rated horse in training with Kemboy at 177 and Cyrname at 176 just ahead of him, which frankly is obscene.

These two horses will be the biggest challenges to Nicky Henderson's stable star with the clash against Cyrname being hinted at all of last season but it truly looks as though it is set to take place at Kempton over the Christmas period.

The Patricia Pugh owned gelding started his season of in the Tingle Creek at Sandown last season where only four runners went to post in dreadfully wet conditions but this season it looks as though this will not be on the nine year olds agenda with it being just 19 days before the big Boxing Day race.

(Credit Racing Post) Henderson, who also revealed Altior had undergone a small breathing operation during the summer, said: "All the horses are back in the yard after their summer breaks and everything is well; they're looking great.

"We have just recauterised Altior's palate for no other reason than precaution. It was done two weeks ago.

"We've all got ideas where he'll go, but we haven't sat down and discussed it. It's an important and very big decision, whether we abandon the Tingle Creek and possibly go to Ascot for the 1965 Chase with a view to the King George.

"If you're going for the King George, I think you have to go to Ascot. That's the place you have to go to find out if he stays at all."

Altior is the current 3/1 ante-post favourite to keep his 19 race unbeaten run and take the King George VI at Kempton at Christmas, but if he does go to post it could set up one of the greatest contests ever witnessed.