Entries for the showpiece Grade One race have to be confirmed this lunchtime – and champion trainer Nicky Henderson intends to omit Altior.
The reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase victor remains unbeaten from 10 starts over jumps after digging deep to land Sandown’s Tingle Creek Chase earlier this month. Connections have not ruled out stepping up to three miles at some stage, but Henderson feels it would be unfair to ask the undoubted star of National Hunt racing to do so less than three weeks after putting in such a stamina-sapping reappearance.
“He (Altior) won’t be in it (King George), I don’t suppose,” said Henderson. “I occasionally have thoughts about it, but it is about 2000-1 that he will run.”
Although the King George has all but been ruled out for Altior, Henderson could consider running him at Kempton – with the Desert Orchid Chase on December 27 under consideration.
However, Malton trainer Ruth Jefferson is due to declare her stable star Waiting Patiently for the King George. Unbeaten over fences, the horse had a successful racecourse gallop at Hexham last week following a long injury lay-off.
In other news, Jessica Harrington says 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John – another horse on the long-term injury list – will miss next week’s intended comeback at Leopardstown.
Kim Bailey says top novice Rocky’s Treasure could now have a prep race before lining up in the Grade One RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Ridden by David Bass, the horse broke the track record at Doncaster on Saturday when beating a quality field to record his fourth win form five starts over larger obstacles.
“We hummed and hawed about it but the ground conditions at Doncaster were in his favour so we thought we’d give it a crack,” said Bailey.
“He’d got to a situation where he could miss the rest of the winter and recover from it.
“They shattered the track record.
“It was a really good performance, a really taking performance.
“Obviously the RSA does come into the reckoning. He’s still cantering at the moment, he’s not on the back burner yet by any means.
“We’ll see how he comes out of last weekend’s race and see if there is anything suitable.
“If there is not then we can sit back and wait and go to Cheltenham.”
Meanwhile stablemate Charbel could attempt to back up his Peterborough Chase victory at Kempton next month.
Bailey is eyeing a Listed race over two and a half miles for the seven-year-old following his popular success in the Grade Two feature at Huntingdon.
“There’s a race at Kempton on January 12. I think that’s where we’re going to go next,” he said.
Bailey is considering stepping Charbel up in trip at some point after the horse recovered from surgery on his back. “If I am going to step him up to three miles it would have to be at Aintree,” he added.
MUSSELBURGH has been granted a new licence to ensure racing can continue at the Scottish track in 2019.
The Edinburgh course’s future was thrown into doubt following a well-publicised dispute between East Lothian Council and the Lothians Racing Syndicate.