TRAINER Nicky Henderson will be a relieved man when he saddles star jumper Altior for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday as it looked an unlikely scenario 48 hours earlier.

The eight-year-old is hot favourite for the two-mile championship, but was reported to be lame on Monday morning due to pus in his foot.

However, specialist treatment and hard work by Henderson’s team appears to have worked and the Seven Barrows trainer reports his charge to be fit for action.

“Monday was horrible all round, but luckily he was sound this morning,” Henderson said.

Altior has won at the last two Festivals but the season has not gone to plan, as the eight-year-old only returned to action in February after having a wind operation.

“He was ready to have his first run in the Tingle Creek, then suddenly we heard a peculiar little noise which required attention,” said Henderson.

“He had that done and he has come back. He didn’t have a lot of work before Newbury, the one thing was his weight was surprisingly close to his racing weight last year.

“He is stepping towards the biggest shoes I’ve ever come across (Sprinter Sacre) and he has done absolutely nothing wrong so far.

“What Altior has done is remain unbeaten over hurdles and his novice chase career, and now he has to win this and finish this year as champion but then he is still not there either.

“He is going the right way and he has got a lot of natural ability, but he has got to do it all again. ” – Racing UK.


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