Nicky Henderson intends to leave Altior in Haydock’s Betfair Chase at Monday’s five-day stage, in case the ground is better on Merseyside next weekend than at Ascot.
Henderson has for some time been hoping to run the dual champion chaser at Ascot in the Christy 1965 Chase over two-miles-five-furlongs, setting up a mouthwatering clash with the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname.
But underfoot conditions are set to play a major part in his destination, as Henderson seeks a run before the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Speaking on Friday, the Seven Barrows trainer said in his blog for Unibet: “Altior’s work this morning was quite extraordinary and he’s absolutely flying and ready to go, so I think we are going to have to enter him for both races next week, because if we get much more of this rain it could end up horrific at Ascot, but the same can be said for Haydock, so we need to keep our options open.
“I would like to make a suggestion that they could make a race up my Farringdon Road gallop where they can go up twice and I’ll get the fences erected, but I’m not sure the BHA would agree to that!
“We’ll get the weather forecast on Monday and if it’s predicted to be heavy (at Ascot) we will certainly keep him in the Betfair as he definitely has to run next weekend to give us enough time to get into the King George.
“I was keen to start him off over two-four or two-five, but it’s only a few furlongs further at Haydock and I am trying to talk myself into it, but we’ll just have to see.”