Henderson Looking Forward To Douvan Clash

Tue 14th Nov 2017, 11:37

Altior
©Healy Racing Photos
Nicky Henderson is already looking forward to taking on the Willie Mullins-trained Douvan with Altior at Cheltenham in March.

While he admits a lot of water needs to pass under the bridge before then, Britain's champion trainer does not envisage the two meeting prior to the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Altior, who won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2016 and the Arkle earlier this year, is due to reappear at Sandown in the Tingle Creek next month.

"He's only just started his faster work as there is still three weeks to go," said Henderson.

"We are where we want to be, he's totally on target for the Tingle Creek.

"I suppose there's the Shloer this weekend he could have gone for, but for me it's too close to the Tingle Creek. So, it fits in well but it means we are starting in a Grade One."

When asked if he felt Altior simply had to avoid falling to be beaten, he told At The Races: " There's Douvan of course (later down the line).

"I was speaking to Rich Ricci (owner) the other day and he said both Douvan and Faugheen are in great shape and the Douvan and Altior match will be in March.

"Hopefully we all get there in one piece, but that is the big if as these horses are so delicate. I hope the meeting is in March as it will be one to savour.

"At the beginning of last season Douvan looked like the next Sprinter Sacre, he was unbeatable at the time. I know he had a wobble but he'll be back, I'm sure.

"We'll go down our road, they can go down theirs and let's hope the clash takes place."

Douvan was a hot favourite to stretch his unbeaten sequence to 15 in last season's Champion Chase but he performed well below expectations and struggled home in seventh.

Ground eases at Fairyhouse

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THE IRISH TIMES