Altior NOT certain to run if Newbury meeting cancelled and pushed back a week as Henderson weighs up 'pros and cons'

SUPERSTAR Altior could skip Newbury if the meeting is cancelled and rearranged for a weeks time.

Saturday's original card is in huge doubt due to freezing temperatures and could be run next Sunday if it fails Friday's inspection.

But Altior could be absent if the Grade 2 Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Chase, known as the Game Spirit, is rescheduled.

Trainer Nicky Henderson is to discuss the possibility with owner Patricia Pugh.

The two-time Champion Chase winner could head straight to Cheltenham Festival instead, but his Champ is likely to run.

Lambourn-based Henderson explained: "It's highly commendable that the card could be going to be re-run and we're grateful the opportunity to run Champ and Altior is available.

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"As far as Altior is concerned, I need to discuss further with Patricia and Christopher Pugh to sum up the pros and cons of a race at this stage, particularly with a view to the going we might encounter on Sunday week, which is all important.

"This is relevant to the reduced time gap between the two races.

"As far as Champ is concerned, he is coming off a longer lay off and it is more important that he has a race prior to the Gold Cup, which, in fairness, is only two days short of a month between the two.

"Obviously we will keep all options open and everybody up to date with our plans."

Henderson added: "I must say it will be a great effort on behalf of Newbury, the British Horseracing Authority, the sponsors and ITV should it all come off.

"It will be a big effort from everybody involved and we're very grateful."

Both Altior and Champ currently sit top of the betting for their respective races on Saturday.

Fellow trainer Paul Nicholls has indicated that dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux would run in the Denman Chase and take on Champ if it was rearranged.

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