Arkle favourite Altior entered in Champion Chase

Altior: three from three over fences this season

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Top novice Altior entered in Champion Chase By Mark Scully 6:15PM 10 JAN 2017

NICKY HENDERSON says he is keeping his options open after handing Racing Post Arkle favourite Altior an entry in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

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Altior, an impressive winner of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the festival last year, is as short as even money favourite with some firms to add the Arkle to his CV after making a perfect start to his chasing career.

However, with some judging the Queen Mother to have an open look to it without odds-on ante-post favourite Douvan, there have been calls for Altior to follow the example of Thistlecrack and take his chance outside novice company.

Henderson discussed the possibility on At The Races' On The Line show on Monday night and said the response regarding Altior took him by surprise, having said he had penciled the horse in but was yet to make a final decision prior to Tuesday's entry stage.

"I had all sorts of people telling me I had to put him in, so we thought about it and we've put him in," he said.

"It was amazing, I had so many messages last night telling me to take out the rubber, get rid of the pencil and put it in ink, so it's in ink now."

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