Altior wins Kempton match

Altior scared away all bar one rival on his chasing debut and duly got off the mark in the Weatherbys Supports Starlight Novices' Chase at Kempton.

Altior impressed on his chase debut

The six-year-old, sent off at 2/13, had noticeably strengthened since last seen when winning the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Noel Fehily, substituting for the injured Nico de Boinville, settled his mount in second initially but soon kicked on into a clear advantage and the pair were about 20 lengths clear going down the far side for the only time.

Jumping well in the main, the race proved little more than a routine exercise as Black Corton fell further and further behind, taking the last some time after Altior had crossed the line.

Sky Bet were sufficiently impressed to cut the winner to 2/1 favourite from 11/4 for the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Fehily told Racing UK: "He was very good, very forward going and he used his brain well.

"I got him in tight to plenty of them and he can get himself out of trouble which was what we needed to learn today."

Altior made a slight mistake five from home but Fehily felt that a lack of pace in the contest was to blame.

"He just ran into the ditch a little bit, he just probably wasn't going quick enough and he just ran at it a little bit but I thought he was very good, he got himself out of trouble; a novice could have done something silly but he was very good getting out of trouble.

"He's got loads of scope. That's one thing we knew he had from schooling but it's just teaching him to go forward and get himself out of trouble and that's what he's learned today and I'm just very lucky to ride him.

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"He's obviously shown already what he can do. He won the Supreme Novices' very impressively and he didn't beat slouches there so we know he's very good.

"If he can run to the same level or a bit more that would be pretty good."

Henderson said: "He had a nice little blow and had a school round and he'll go to Sandown on Saturday week for the Henry VIII (Novices' Chase).

"He races with his head low, which is lovely and a great way to go over fences.

"We were debating whether to make him a Champion Hurdle horse. We could if we wanted to, but he's been so good at this.

"He's built like a chaser and I thought he jumped great. He had a nice pop round and he jumped really well, getting a run under his belt. There are options, but we might as well go to Sandown.

"Noel sat on him on Friday and he jumped 10 fences and he was electric. He's been frighteningly good all the way through.

"He has pure pace and I would not even think about stepping him up in trip.

"I'm pretty sure Charbel is going to Sandown so we'll know we'll get a good pace, which will help him.

"That was a good start and I was happy with it."

Henderson had earlier won the Coolmore Stallions EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle with Lough Derg Spirit.

A winning point-to-pointer, he certainly did not look short of speed as he made all the running under Jerry McGrath.

The 2/1 favourite pinged the last and scooted clear to win by three and a half lengths from Coup De Pinceau.

"He did everything right there," said Henderson.

"He'd been very good at home and we were hoping he'd do something like that. I wouldn't know what we'd do next, but he's nice."

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