You might have learned of the decision at the weekend to aim Altior at the King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He is a 3/1 chance for that and there is zero value in the price. Modern day King George Chases tend to be frantically run. If Altior wins it, he’ll have proved his stamina for the Gold Cup in my view, or at least that a tilt at the big one is merited.
Nobody knows if Altior will stay the trip, but I think he has every chance of doing so. Regulars will know I’ve already recommended Lostintranslation on a value basis for the Gold Cup, but that was before Altior’s presence looked likely.
Altior has been around so long that many have adjusted to him just being there and winning two-milers at long odds on. I wouldn’t say he is taken for granted, but perhaps many have lost sight of the fact that he is one of the greatest horses in NH history. He’s renowned for steeplechasing, but the Supreme Hurdle he won easily in 2016 was one of the best novice hurdle fields ever assembled. He’s proven himself time and again at the highest level – 19 from 19 over jumps.
For at least the last two seasons Altior has raced as though he would benefit substantially from stepping up in trip. Thanks to his brave owners (I suspect trainer Henderson would rather not risk it) we will get to see if he can become a champion staying chaser.
If he does go for the Gold Cup, he will not line up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. That will tempt a few who might have been Ryanair bound to go for the more prestigious race. I very much hope that Defi Du Seuil will be one of these and at 20/1 it’s well worth taking the chance he will.
It’s not often you can have a double at big prices in what is essentially a related contingency bet, but Betfair offer 20/1 Defi Du Seuil and 12/1 Altior. I have taken that this morning for smallish stakes – March is a long way off and anything can happen. I’ve also backed Altior single at 14s with Bet365.