Altior to swerve Aintree outing

Altior will miss next week’s JLT Melling Chase at Aintree in favour of running at Sandown later this month.

The eight-year-old extended his winning run over fences to eight by claiming overall glory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and he had been in line to return to action at Aintree this Friday.

Trainer Nicky Henderson had certainly been tempted to run the Irish gelding at the Merseyside course, as he had wanted to test him over two and a half miles for the first time, but he has now confirmed that will not be the case, with Altior instead set to defend his title in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown on April 28.

Henderson told Unibet: “We have decided that Altior will not run at Aintree in the Melling Chase on Friday and will instead head to Sandown for the Celebration Chase, which he won last year.

“I would loved to have tried him over two and a half miles, and it was a real temptation, but we’ve got another Grade One in a fortnight’s time around a track he likes and as we can’t do both, we will wait.”

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