Newbury Betfair Exchange Chase Review: Awesome Altior Odds On For Champion Chase Following Impressive Reappearance
Having his first run since last April, due to a minor wind operation, it is hard to imagine a more satisfactory outcome for connections as the unbeaten Altior kept his perfect record over fences with a highly professional display in outclassing the extremely talented Politologue in Newbury’s Betfair Exchange Chase, registered and know for many years as the Game Spirit Chase.
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Despite facing only two rivals in the Grade 2 two and a half mile contest, the eight-year-old had a serious challenger in Paul Nicholls’ grey who was on a four-timer following victories in the Haldon Gold Cup, Tingle Creek and Desert Orchid Chase but the mount of Sam Twiston-Davies had no answer as Altior and rider Nico de Boinville swept past after jumping the final fence, coming home by an ever-increasing four lengths.
“ If you could dream what would happen that was just about it,” was how trainer Nicky Henderson described the performance of the Seven Barrows stable star, adding “ that’s not his ground but he travelled very well and he has so many gears; he’s just got class and is very very good. There must be a lot of improvement.”
Unbeaten now in twelve starts over hurdles and fences, bookmakers were quick to revise their prices for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, making the son of High Chaparral no bigger than 4-5 ( Betfair Sportsbook ) for the two mile test of speed and jumping ahead of chief market rival Min ( 100-30 Stan James ), while the defeated Politologue has been pushed out to as big as 10-1 with Betvictor.
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The other significant Cheltenham Festival trial was another three-runner affair in the shape of the two mile seven and a half furlong Betfair Denman Chase in which the 2017 Gold Cup third Native River was also making his seasonal debut and like Altior could hardly have been more impressive in seeing off his two decent opponents in Cloudy Dream and Saphir Du Rheu with the minimum of fuss.
The 330-day absence posed no problem for Colin Tizzard’s 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh Grand National winner who made it three from three at the Berkshire venue, bowling along in front and jumping well under usual pilot Richard Johnson, putting twelve lengths between himself and his rivals passing the post. The victory elevated Native River into 6-1 joint second favourite with Sizing John for the Gold Cup, although Betfair Sportsbook offer a standout 13-2.