© Photo Healy Racing
Nicky Henderson will look towards next month’s Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury with Altior after ruling out a run at Ascot this weekend.
The 10-year-old had been entered for the Grade One Matchbook Clarence House Chase on Saturday, but Henderson did not confirm his entry at the five-day stage on Monday in light of an unsettled forecast.
Altior, who suffered his first defeat over fences at Ascot in November on what has been his only start so far this term, will now be targeted at Newbury on February 8.
He won the extended two-mile race, which is better known as the Game Spirit, en route to the Cheltenham Festival in both 2017 and 2018.
Henderson said: “I’ve spoken to (Ascot clerk of the course) Chris Stickels and (owner) Pat Pugh and in view of the forecast, we haven’t confirmed him.
“We’ll keep everything up our sleeve option-wise, but I think he will run in the Game Spirit whatever happens — he’s run in that before when it was soft and won, and it was soft the year he beat Politologue.
“That’s the objective.”