‘We’ve got to do the best thing by the horse’: Trainer Nicky Henderon pulls Altior out of Betfair Tingle Creek Chase as the track continues to deteriorate following heavy rain
- Trainer Nicky Henderson pulled Altior out of the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase
- The dual Champion Chase winner was due to make his seasonal debut in the race
- Altior’s withdrawal leaves Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue the new favourite
Trainer Nicky Henderson pulled Altior out of the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown as ground conditions deteriorated at the track after significant rain since Thursday.
The dual Champion Chase winner was due to make his seasonal debut in the race he won in 2018.
Last season 10-time grade one winner Altior was knocked off course after a draining seasonal debut second to Cyrname at Ascot in November and was not able to run again until February.
Trainer Nicky Henderson pulled Altior out of the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown
Henderson said: ‘It is with a heavy heart we have decided that Altior is not going to run. We simply don’t want to bottom him again given what happened last year.
‘Everyone has seen how testing the ground was today and we’re not going to ask him to do it again.
‘We’re very sorry to everyone who was looking forward to seeing him and it was a very tough decision for his owners the Pughs, but we’ve got to do the best thing by the horse.
‘It’s tough, and if there was any further rain forecast we may have left the decision until the morning, but it will be very holding ground and very hard work.
Altior’s withdrawal leaves Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, the 2017 winner, new favourite
‘We’ve been talking all night, we started off at 50-50 but we’re not even 90-10 now – he won’t run.
‘Sadly, the horse could not be in better form so we’ll look at either Kempton or Ascot for him next.’
Altior’s withdrawal leaves Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, the 2017 winner, the new favourite. He won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March in the absence of Altior who went lame on the eve of the meeting.
Nicholls, who has won 10 Tingle Creek Chases, also runs Haldon Gold Cup hero Greaneteen.
Nicholls said: ‘We know Politologue is best fresh, he looks stunning, has had an away day and couldn’t be in better shape. The more it rains at Sandown, the more it will suit him.’
‘Greaneteen won the Haldon Gold Cup in determined style. He has earned a crack at this Grade One and has come on bundles since Exeter but he does need to improve.