Henderson Game for Newbury

Nicky Henderson could run Altior in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury having bypassed the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday week.

Altior could be given an entry in the Champion Chase

The Lambourn handler entered the exciting novice in the Grade One contest but confirmed that the seven-year-old is unlikely to take up his engagement.

However, last year's Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner could still run him outside novice company before the Cheltenham Festival with the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in February on the radar.

"He won't go to the Clarence House, but there aren't that many opportunities," he told At The Races.

"The Game Spirit attracts me. I'm not trying to compare him with Sprinter Sacre but it was a route we went down with him and Newbury's such a good track I think that's the way we'll go.

"That's the only reason you would do it [have a Champion Chase entry in case Douvan didn't turn up].

"I wouldn't [take on Douvan]. We were only six when we set out, he's seven now, and he's hopefully, if we don't bok it, got a fair few years of this.

"We've got to go down the conventional route with a young horse like this. I know it's been done before and I do think he's very good but the best way to mind him is to just do the sensible thing.

"This horse has got fantastic gears and he is very talented. He could run in a mile and a half, mile and a quarter maiden on the Flat and that's why I think he's a genuine two mile horse, I can't imagine we'll ever want to go any further.

"One day hopefully… if all goes well in a year's time from now, if Douvan and Altior come through this year unscathed, they will get to meet next year as that really will be something.

"We haven't discussed it [if Noel Fehily will ride Altior in the Arkle when Nico De Boinville is back]. We'll have to see when Nico is back. I can't deny it's an issue but it hasn't even been discussed to be fair."

With Altior on course for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy – for which he is even money favourite – Henderson is keen to look elsewhere with Buveur d'Air who took third behind his stablemate at Cheltenham last March and that could lead to a surprise return to hurdling.

"I think with Buveur D'Air we'll look to the Scilly Isles at Sandown and see what he looks like over two and a half miles," he continued.

"We always thought last year over hurdles we'd up him to two and a half and we were actually going to at Aintree, until the two mile hurdle looked an easier race.

"The Scilly Isles will tell us whether he could come into the JLT. We're going to put him in the Champion Hurdle as well."

He could be joined in the JLT Novices' Chase by dual Grade One winner Whisper with Henderson concluding he's 'certainly not an Arkle horse, but I'd think JLT rather than RSA'.

Read More at Sporting Life

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