Grade 1 winners among 13 entered in Arkle Trial

Altior looked a star in the making when winning the Supreme Novices'

PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) Grade 1 winners among 13 entered in Arkle Trial By Keith Melrose 4:00PM 8 NOV 2016

SUPREME Novices' Hurdle winner Altior and Identity Thief are among the prospective runners in what could a tremendous renewal of the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.

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The race had originally been re-opened after receiving insufficient entries, but the quality of those revealed on Tuesday was enough to quickly elevate the race to one of the most anticipated of the weekend.

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Altior was a seven-length winner of the Supreme ahead of the highly-vaunted Min and stablemate Buveur D'Air, who went on to win the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree.

Trainer Nicky Henderson said on his blog for StanJames: "After the November Novices' Chase [the registered title of the race] was reopened at Cheltenham on Sunday I have decided to enter Altior and if the forecast is correct it is a possibility that he may take his chance, but it must be emphasised that he will not run unless the predicted rain materialises."

Henderson added: "He is in great form and worked particularly well this morning therefore I am extremely happy with him. We will give him a schooling session in the morning after which a more definitive decision with regards to his participation at Cheltenham will be made."

Fighting Fifth winner handed bigger test

Identity Thief won the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last November. He finished sixth in the Champion Hurdle and on his return last month made an encouraging debut over fences, winning at Punchestown.

His trainer Henry De Bromhead has four of the 13 entered, with Three Stars, Some Plan and Ordinary World also possibles for the yard.

The two big names are by no means the only two smart chasing prospects in the field. Scottish Champion Hurdle second Cloudy Dream was impressive at Carlisle on his debut over fences and Blue Heron, though beaten on his chasing bow at Market Rasen, mixed with the best over hurdles.

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