Sandown: Altior hits the heights again in Henry VIII
Altior: now as short as 6-4 favourite for the Racing Post Arkle
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Altior hits the heights again in Henry VIII By David Baxter 2:03PM 3 DEC 2016
Report: Sandown, Saturday
Racing Post Henry VIII Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 1m7f119y, 4yo+
ALTIOR continued his education over fences with a largely fluent performance, seeing off Charbel after the last for an ultimately straightforward win.
Last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner, Altior is considered the one to beat for the Racing Post Arkle, and he is now as short as 6-4 favourite for the Cheltenham Festival race.
Having tracked the leaders Charbel and Marracudja, Noel Fehily stalked the pair before delivering a devastating turn of foot at the end of the race.
The winning jockey said: "I spent so much time trying to switch him off, maybe he went a little bit cold on me but once I switched him back on he was very impressive in the second half of the race."
Altior certainly warmed to his task, as he launched himself at a couple of fences early on, but there were no mistakes when tackling Sandown's infamous railway fences.
Charbel was a dogged foe, but he was not as slick as Altior, and ran down the last when Fehily was poised to strike. Even a flying leap would have likely not been enough to hold off the winner, as he breezed clear by six lengths.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "He's very classy with lots of gears. He has serious pace. He would still be a Champion Hurdle horse if he wanted to."