Confidence soars in Nicky Henderson’s Altior after triumph

Altior returned to winning ways at Newbury under Nico de Boinville.
Altior returned to winning ways at Newbury under Nico de Boinville.
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JOCKEY Nico de Boinville says Altior still has plenty to prove ahead of the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He was speaking after the horse returned to winning ways at Newbury following his defeat to Cyrname in November.

Victory at Cheltenham next month will see Nicky Henderson’s stable star equal the three successive Queen Mother victories that Yorkshire-trained Badsworth Boy recorded in the 1980s for the Dickinson family and jockey Robert Earnshaw.

“This has given confidence to the horse and to us. It’s a massive thanks to the team at home – they have done a wonderful job of getting him where he should be,” said the jockey.

De Boinville was also unperturbed when Altior hit a flat spot, and appeared a spent force, before surging clear after the final fence.

“He hits that bit of a flat spot, but then he takes off again. You just have to keep him going and keep niggling away and hopefully he finds that extra gear,” added the rider. “We are nearly up to Cheltenham now and that was a good trial. That is his trademark, that devastating finish from the last to the line and he showed what he can do. I think we still have plenty to work on, but that was a real confidence booster for him. He showed a sparkle of his old brilliance.”

Meanwhile today’s meeting at Catterick is the latest victim of Storm Ciara after the River Swale burst its banks.

All meetings in Britain and Ireland yesterday were called off while an early morning inspection will determine prospects for racing at Plumpton today.