Nicky Henderson said on Friday that the door remains open for Altior to run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday week after his stable star had excelled in a morning workout.
The dual two-mile champion chaser, who has won all 19 of his races over jumps, is expected to return in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot over 2m 5f on the same day but the Betfair Chase, the first leg of the Jockey Club’s £1 million Chase Triple Crown, remains a tantalising possibility.
“Altior’s work this morning was quite extraordinary and he’s absolutely flying and ready to go so I think we are going to have to enter him for both races next week (at the five day stage on Monday),” Henderson said in his Unibet blog.
Nicky Henderson spoke to Nick Luck after Altior’s 19th successive win at Sandown in April
“If we get much more of this rain it could end up horrific at Ascot, but the same can be said for Haydock so we need to keep our options open.
“We’ll get the weather forecast on Monday and if it’s predicted to be heavy we will certainly keep him in the Betfair as he definitely has to run next weekend to give us enough time to get into the King George.
“I was keen to start him off over 2m4f/5f but it’s only a few furlongs further at Haydock and I am trying to talk myself into it, but we’ll just have to see.”
Altior is the general 11-10 favourite for the Christy Chase, in which he would meet Cyrname, the highest-rated chaser in training.
He is a best-priced 9-1 for the Betfair Chase with bet365, but is as short as 3-1 elsewhere.
Bristol De Mai is on course to try and win a third successive Betfair Chase, while Lostintranslation, who impressed on his return at Carlisle, is another intended runner.