Nicky Henderson praises dream run as Altior wins with ease on return

first_imgWas this helpful? Quick guide Racing tips for Sunday 11 February Show Topics Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Reuse this content Ayr 1.50 Just Don’t Ask 2.20 Divine Spear 2.55 Grand Morning 3.25 Lochnell 4.00 Baby Ticker 4.30 Smuggler’s Stash (nb) 5.00 Sory Exeter 2.00 Samburu Shujaa 2.30 Vision Des Flos 3.05 Present Times (nap) 3.35 Cloudy Bob 4.10 Elegant Escape 4.40 Rayvin Black 5.10 Time To Move On  … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Twittercenter_img Horse racing There is little that fires the enthusiasm of National Hunt fans quite like a returning hero, and both Altior and Native River played their roles to perfection on Saturday after a combined total of 617 days away from the track. Altior is now odds-on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase after dismissing Politologue with ease in the Game Spirit Chase. Native River, who took the Denman Chase, advanced to second-favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on 16 March.Nicky Henderson, Altior’s trainer, suggested beforehand that if his outstanding two-miler was ever likely to lose his unbeaten record over fences, this was the race. Politologue, the race-fit second-favourite, took the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December while Altior was recovering from a high-profile wind operation, and looked like a stern opponent for a favourite absent since April.Politologue set out to make it a test, but Altior brushed him aside over the last two fences and won by four lengths with Nico de Boinville easing down. Politologue is now 10-1 for the Champion Chase with Altior favourite at 8-11. Min, a 100-30 chance from the Willie Mullins stable, is the only other runner at single-figure odds.“If you’d dreamt what would happen, that would just about have been it,” Henderson said. “He’s just got class. His work is so easy. We’re very lucky to have a wonderful bunch of horses, but we haven’t got much that can go with him. He’s done some good bits of work with other horses, but he’s just better than them.”Native River, absent since finishing third behind Sizing John in the Cheltenham Gold Cup 11 months ago, also slipped straight back into his familiar routine. Colin Tizzard’s chaser set off in front, galloping and jumping with the zest that saw him take the Welsh National under top weight last season. While Brian Hughes and Cloudy Dream tried hard to close him down in the straight, a series of fine jumps took Native River further clear.“At the cross fence [five out], you’d have said the two greys were travelling better than him,” Tizzard said. “Then suddenly, he’s eight lengths clear. We’ve seen that with him all last year. He’s hardly blowing and it couldn’t have gone any better.“He’s an exceptional horse. If the cards had been dealt differently we wouldn’t have waited this long [for his seasonal debut], but we had to wait to let that ligament heal or we might not have had anything left for Cheltenham.“He’s always come on for racing and his second run [of the season] has always been his best. He hasn’t had a hard race, and he’s up against a couple who have had some real humdingers in the last few weeks. He’ll be going in there the freshest, that’s for sure.Kalashnikov became the fifth novice in the last six years to win the Betfair Hurdle, finishing four-and-a-half lengths clear of Bleu Et Rouge, and could now head for the Supreme Novice Hurdle on the opening day at Cheltenham, while Saint Calvados, the easy winner of the Kingmaker Chase at Warwick, is a 7-1 chance to take the race that follows, the Arkle Trophy Novice Chase. Thank you for your feedback. Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Hide The Observer Share on Pinterest Since you’re here… newslast_img read more