Altior aiming for Sandown high
Jockey Nico de Boinville believes the extra time between his races will help Altior in his bid to end the season on a high in today's Celebration Chase at Sandown.
The star two-miler may have had a truncated campaign due to a wind operation, but he showed his brilliance to lift the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month after winning his prep race at Newbury in February.
Trainer Nicky Henderson resisted the temptation of running him over two and a half miles at Aintree two weeks ago to wait for this Grade One over two miles, which he won 12 months ago.
It was a decision that had the total approval of the jockey (pictured), who reports Altior to be primed for a return to action.
"I worked him on Sunday after coming back from Ayr and he's in good nick, good to go," De Boinville said. "I think we were in trouble at one stage (at Cheltenham), but that's why I'm grateful we've waited for Sandown and didn't go to Aintree as I think those extra couple of weeks have helped him.
"I think he is very relaxed, he's really settled down compared to what he was like as a novice hurdler - he used to be a flat-out runaway. I guess horses change with age."
His five rivals include the 2017 Champion Chase winner Special Tiara, which lowered the colours of Sprinter Sacre to take this prize in 2015.
Henry de Bromhead's charge, runner-up to Altior last year, was re-routed to Sandown after being a late withdrawal from Tuesday's Champion Chase at Punchestown due to the rain-softened ground.
At Sandown yesterday, Addeybb entered the big league for milers after making a real impression on his first outing in Pattern-race company with a decisive success in the bet365 Mile.
Last seen routing his rivals in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, the William Haggas-trained four-year-old did the same to those facing him in this Group Two contest, turning it into a one-horse race.
Sent on with around a furlong to run, the 6/4 favourite quickly went through the gears before defeating Stormy Antarctic by two and three-quarter lengths.
Haggas' wife, Maureen, said: "He has done that nicely enough. He is just such a nice, straightforward horse. He has got a great temperament and tries his guts out and you can't ask for much more than that. He is a grand horse.
"I think he (owner) is talking about going for the Lockinge. He rang up and said 'Lockinge, Lockinge, Lockinge'. I think that is where he is aiming at. He handles this ground, but he is a good mover so I'm not sure he has to have it."
John Gosden's enviable riches in the Classic department had another name added to the mix with Sevenna Star showing plenty of stamina to land the bet365 Classic Trial.
Appearing to need every inch of the mile-and-a-quarter trip, the Redoute's Choice colt stuck on in spirited fashion to give the Newmarket trainer his ninth success in the race.
Requiring plenty of encouragement from Frankie Dettori to get into top gear, the 15/8 favourite wore down eventual runner-up Ispolini close to the line to prevail by a short head.
Gosden said: "He is a big horse, as you can see, and he is still learning. He didn't really see anyone around Windsor last time. He did a nice piece of work around there.