The old saying that there is no such thing as a certainty in horseracing may have to be revised to exclude the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior who was winning for the 17th consecutive time when proving different class from his two solitary rivals in Ascot’s Matchbook Clarence House Chase on Saturday. The last twelve of those wins have come over fences and the son of High Chaparral is fast developing an air of invincibility over the bigger obstacles, a fact made clear by the nine-year-old’s odds of 4-11 with bet365 for a repeat performance in the Champion Chase at the festival in just over seven weeks time.
The only negative in the gelding’s seven length annihilation of the talented Fox Norton and Diego Du Charmil was the tendency of Nico de Boinville’s mount to veer to his left approaching his fences, of which his trainer explained: “ He was getting a bit bored. He’s only wandering around like a goof in a fog. He was doing nothing out there in front and wasn’t being competitive. He was feeling rather lonely, unwanted and unloved. It’s amazing how many horses you’ll see do that around Ascot. I don’t know why but it certainly doesn’t concern me in any way.”
At Haydock, the victory of Global Citizen from the Ben Pauling stable in the Unibet-backed Champion Hurdle Trial hardly made a ripple in the betting for the championship contest on Tuesday 12th March, but there will be worse 33-1 chances ( Ladbrokes and Coral ) as the improving seven-year-old can be a difficult horse to pass when allowed to dictate matters up front.
A well-beaten fourth in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle last time failed to dampen the enthusiasm of his trainer, who said: “ It wasn’t his running at Kempton and to be beaten only 13 lengths there when he hung so badly showed the ability he has. He was a little sore behind and we sorted that out and it’s a great result. His hurdling was incredible again, which is the main key to his success. He has a big future.”
Fantastic effort by all @benpauling1 … 3 weeks after Kempton, what an effort by Ben & team to get GLobal Citizen back…. simply stunning. Great ride by Bassy! Settled GC and let him race…… can’t wait for Chelters! https://t.co/o6A8hC58YT— andrew megson (@AndrewMegson1) January 19, 2019
Next stop for the son of Alkaadhem is likely to be Prestbury Park in March and it would be dangerous to underestimate the chance of David Bass’s mount who could easily make the frame at attractive odds.