Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 20 June 2019

Henderson ace Altior to bypass Aintree

Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Nicky Henderson. Photo: Sportsfile

Ashley Iveson

Altior will sidestep the JLT Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday and instead defend his crown in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown, trainer Nicky Henderson has announced.

The brilliant eight-year-old extended his unbeaten record over fences to eight in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at last month's Cheltenham Festival and Henderson admitted to being tempted by the prospect of testing his stable star over two-and-a-half miles for the first time in his career on Merseyside.

However, the trainer is erring on the side of caution and Altior will end his campaign at Sandown on April 28.

"I would love to have tried him over two-and-a-half miles, and it was a real temptation, but we've got another Grade One in a fortnight's time around a track he likes and as we can't do both, we will wait," Henderson said.

He confirmed Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite will run in Thursday's Betway Bowl following a pleasing workout yesterday.

Meanwhile, Mouse Morris is "delighted" to give Rachael Blackmore the leg up on Alpha Des Obeaux in Saturday's Randox Health Grand National. Morris, who won the 2016 National with Rule The World, has kept Alpha Des Obeaux fresh and is hoping he can give last season's champion conditional jockey a good spin on her debut ride in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Morris said: "Rachael has been lucky for us and she's a very good pilot. We're delighted to have her on board."

Nick Scholfield will ride Aintree regular Maggio in the National.

Irish Independent

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