Thursday 16 August 2018

Altior set for Sandown duel with Special Tiara

Trainer Henry de Bromhead. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Trainer Henry de Bromhead. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Arkle Trophy winner Altior and Henry de Bromhead's Champion Chase hero Special Tiara will lock horns in tomorrow's bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown.

Although the two-mile contest may be lacking in numbers with just four horses going to post, it promises to be an intriguing battle between the two Cheltenham Festival winners, who on official ratings are split by just a pound.

The Co Waterford-trained Special Tiara will be attempting to win the race for a second time having took the spoils in 2015. Altior will bid to give his trainer Nicky Henderson, who also saddles Vaniteux, back-to-back wins in the Grade One after taking it 12 months ago with the now-retired Sprinter Sacre.

Completing the small but select field is the Paul Nicholls-trained San Benedeto, which made it six wins over fences this season last time out with victory in a Grade One at Aintree.

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to former Grand National winner Amberleigh House which has died at the age of 25 after suffering a bout of colic. The 2004 Aintree hero, which also won the Becher Chase over the famous fences in 2001, lost his battle following an operation after being diagnosed with the condition on Good Friday.

Having finished third on his first outing in the world's greatest steeplchase in 2003 behind Monty's Pass, the Halewood family-owned gelding returned 12 months later to go two places better and give Ginger McCain his fourth win in the race, 27 years after Red Rum's third victory.

After being retired following his final outing in the National in 2006, Amberleigh House - which was trained by Michael Hourigan in his early days - spent a period of time at the National Stud in Newmarket before living out his final days with trainer Lisa Williamson, sister of Judy Halewood.

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