Henderson confident Altior will overcome setback

News that Altior was lame on Monday morning with pus in the foot has cast a slightly different perspective over the Grade One Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, the highlight of Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 14.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior remains the 11/10 favourite with sponsors Betway for the Grade One two-mile chase after Henderson said that he was "confident" the horse would be fit to race, but has drifted slightly from odds-on.
"Both our vet and farrier are working very hard and are more than hopeful that he will even be able to canter tomorrow and therefore confident he will be clear to race on Wednesday.
"Obviously, we will monitor the situation and keep everybody up to date with his progress," said Henderson.
Altior, who is unbeaten in 12 outings over fences and hurdles, was the six-length winner of last year's Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase under Wednesday's jockey Nico de Boinville. He took his only run of the 2017-18 season - the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on February 10 - by four lengths from Politologue, who once again represents Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies.
Willie Mullins has confirmed that Douvan, the 2016 Racing Post Arkle Trophy Chase hero, will take his chance in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase - initial thoughts were that he might tackle Thursday's Ryanair Chase instead. Douvan, who could only finish seventh when the 2/9 favourite to Special Tiara in the 2017 renewal and was found to have fractured his pelvis, has not run for exactly a year but is second favourite to Altior at 5/2 (from 11/4) with the sponsors.
Mullins also trains the third-favourite Min, who has shortened from 10/3 to 3/1. Min, who has won twice on heavy ground, was an impressive winner of a Grade Two chase at Leopardstown over two miles and a furlong last time out. He will be ridden by Paul Townend, while Ruby Walsh takes the ride on Douvan.
There are nine horses in total declared for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. Last year's winner Special Tiara, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden once again by Noel Fehily, is unlikely to enjoy the ground and is priced accordingly at around 25/1. De Bromhead also runs 66/1 chance Ordinary World (Davy Russell).
Local trainers Kim Bailey and Tom George will be represented by Charbel (David Bass, 40/1) and God's Own (Paddy Brennan, 50/1). The field is completed by Ar Mad, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by his son Josh. The eight-year-old was beaten five and a half lengths by Politologue in the Grade One Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 9 and has not run since.