News Altior sprinkles stardust on Newbury entries

Altior sprinkles stardust on Newbury entries


Altior will face a maximum of six rivals if he makes his eagerly-anticipated return in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on Saturday.

The Nicky Henderson-trained star is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner having landed the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy in each of the last two years, and although he has not been seen in action so far this season after undergoing a wind operation, he remains a hot favourite for next month's Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He is pencilled in to make his comeback in a Grade Two contest better known as the Game Spirit Chase and while he may not face a numerically strong field, there are a couple of worthy opponents in contention in Fox Norton and Politologue.

Colin Tizzard's Fox Norton chased home Altior in this race 12 months ago before going on to finish second in the Champion Chase.

He subsequently claimed Grade One events at Aintree and Punchestown and made a successful start to the current campaign at Cheltenham in November. However, he will return to Newbury with something to prove after pulling up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

In Altior's absence, the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue has been the star of the two-mile chasing division this season, winning the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, beating Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek and dominating in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Saint Calvados has won his last two starts at Newbury for Harry Whittington and has been given the option, but is also in the Kingmaker at Warwick against fellow novices.

Gary Moore's Traffic Fluide, Harry Fry's Overtown Express and Alan King's Valdez, who has been off the track for over three years, complete the potential field.