Four-times Cheltenham Festival winner Altior is lame and could be ruled out of the Festival. The Antepost favourite for the Champion Chase may miss his date with destiny in bidding for a third win in the race.
Nicky Henderson’s stable star has enjoyed a luckless season, losing his long unbeaten run to Cyrname at Ascot in November. Postponed engagements followed after a couple of injury scares before he returned to winning ways at Newbury in February.
Punters expected Altior to overcome the young pretenders Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil despite his less than perfect preparation. He’s made the two-miles division his own in recent years, and after scoring at Newbury in customary gutsy fashion looked some way back to his best.
Nevertheless, he was revealed to have been lame during his work prior to the Festival. After consulting with vets, Nicky Henderson revealed that his his stable star faced a “battle against time”.
Monday morning saw Altior declared for the Champion Chase. This was in light of good improvement made overnight. Whereas on Sunday he reacted very sensitively to pressure on the splint, he’s “nothing like as reactive today”. After walking on the treadmill, Henderson said “we must give him a chance” of making Wednesday’s showpiece.
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