Altior to race against Cyrname in Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot 

‘He has such a ridiculous amount of speed’: Nicky Henderson’s Altior to race against Cyrname in Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot

  • Saturday’s two-mile race will be the longest Ailtor has competed over
  • Ailtor’s 19-race unbeaten record will be placed on the line at Ascot 
  • Nicky Henderson said that Ailtor’s jumping ‘is so quick and slick’ 

Nicky Henderson says he is going against all his training instincts by pitching Altior in against Cyrname in Saturday’s Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot.

The two-mile five-furlong race will be longest distance Nico de Boinville-ridden Altior has raced over.

The dominant force in two-mile chases, he will put his 19-race unbeaten record on the line against a rival who is both a dual course and distance winner and rated 1lb better.

Altior will race against Cyrname during Saturday’s Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot

If Altior can win, it will open up a shot at the three-mile King George VI Chase and open up the chance to show he can be a champion at different distances. But Henderson cannot hide his reservations.

He said: ‘If you had seen him work last Friday, he does not look like a horse who is going to stay. He has such a ridiculous amount of speed and his jumping is so quick and slick.

‘You cannot believe he is a stayer. If he is he is the most remarkable horse I have ever seen.

‘I just hope he relaxes. If he goes into attack mode it will get very aggressive very early on.

‘Stamina will be the issue. Nico thought he was racing at the end of last season as if he wanted another half a mile. But he doesn’t work like a stayer. Let’s hope Nico is right.’

Henderson was speaking after OK Corral, 8-1 favourite for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury a week on Saturday, took part in a work-out over a circuit of the track under 20-champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy.

The nine-year-old has only run three times over fences, including an impressive win at Warwick. OK Corral subsequently pulled up in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but had excuses according to Henderson.

The trainer, who also intends running Beware The Bear, Brave Eagle and On The Blind Side in the Ladbroke Trophy Chase, said: ‘When the flu outbreak came along we were forced to re-vaccinate. It badly affected four or five horses, particularly him. He had a lump the size of a melon on the side of his neck and could turn his head.

‘We got him back in time but he ran no race at all and he hadn’t got over the vaccination.’

Henderson confirmed that dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air is on course to try to win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday week for a third time while his Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills will make his season comeback in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on December 14.

Ailtor's 19-race unbeaten record will be placed on the line at Ascot against Cyrname

Ailtor’s 19-race unbeaten record will be placed on the line at Ascot against Cyrname

Henderson’s Elite Hurdle winner Fusil Raffles is pencilled in for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Might Bite, the 2017 King George VI Chase winner who endured a disappointing 2018/19 season when his trademark exuberant jumping was missing, has ‘got his jumping mojo back’, according to Henderson.

His comeback race will be either the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on December 7 or the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon 24 hours later.


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