ALTIOR will miss this weekend’s Grade Two Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton and will now have to wait until February to tune up for his attempt at a third Champion Chase victory.
His trainer Nicky Henderson told Racing TV on Tuesday that “Altior doesn’t look like Altior”, citing a recent abscess as the reason and will now aim his superstar at the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 8.
The Cheltenham Festival is just nine weeks away and with punters still searching for clues came the news that LOSTINTRANSLATION is set to head straight for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup following his below-par performance in the King George VI Chase.
Connections remain unable to fully identify why LOSTINTRANSLATION was not himself at Kempton on Boxing Day, where he was pulled up three fences from the finish but hope a subsequent soft palate operation will help.
Colin Tizzard’s gelding had staked a strong claim for the Gold Cup with victory in the Chase at Haydock a month earlier and while an outing in next month’s Denman Chase at Newbury was mooted, he’s now unlikely to run again before the blue riband contest in March.
Despite ALTIOR’S late withdrawal Henderson has another leading contender in TOP NOTCH but it could be KAUTO RICO who steps in to take the spoils.
Tom Gretton’s nine-year-old was a rank outsider at 100-1 when he came from off the pace to go down by just three-quarters of a length at Huntingdon last time out.
The Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle will likely be the big betting race on the Kempton card and Olly Murphy’s NOTRE PARI let down favourite backers in his first two starts but bounced back at Aintree last month and an 8lb hike in the weights still leaves him fairly treated.
But the sweetest bet of the day could be in Warwick’s feature race at 3pm with KIMBERLITE CANDY who ran a terrific race to finish second in the Becher Chase at Aintree last month and is a 6/1shot with Carrigill’s.
He’s due a big chase win and should relish this extreme stamina trip over 3m 5f.
TWO FOR GOLD is unbeaten in two chases for Kim Bailey and Warwick’s galloping track can extend his winning streak in the 3m Grade 2 novice chase at 1.50.
Closer to home at Wetherby Alan King’s classy mare ALSA MIX makes a return after receiving treatment for strained muscles and should be better than her last showing when third at Warwick.
HAWK HIGH has run well at the Yorkshire track to be second on his first two starts this season and Tim Easterby’s consistent sort deserves to go one better tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.15.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite ABACADABRAS features among a stellar list of 12 horses entered for Sunday’s Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Fourth behind Envoi Allen in the Champion Bumper last season, Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old has blossomed since switching to the hurdling sphere this campaign and chalked up an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Punchestown over the festive period.
A race won in previous years by the likes of Vautour and Douvan, who both went on to land Supreme glory, it’s no surprise to see an impressive line up and the highly touted ANDY DUFRESN will add more depth to the Elliott team.