The brilliant Altior returned to action at Newbury on Saturday and produced a masterclass to win the Betfair Exchange Chase and his odds on another successful Cheltenham Festival were slashed.
Nicky Henderson’s star, unbeaten in 11 previous starts over jumps, was making a belated start to the campaign after undergoing a wind operation – but he cruised to victory ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, the star of the division this season in Altior’s absence.
Henderson said: “It was going to be tactical and I didn’t know who was going to do what, but that was exactly what we wanted.
“He has got so much pace this horse, I was fairly confident if he could get to the second-last upsides on the bridle, it would be hard for a horse to go with him from there.
“He has to improve a lot. He’s had a nice time. The timing was good, he hasn’t had a hard race, he hasn’t even had his ground and he’s beaten a good horse.
“You’d have to say that was perfection, from my point of view.”
Bookmakers have now reacted and he is odds-on for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham with Ladbrokes making him 4/6.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “Altior‘s win looked effortless and he very much deserves to be odds-on for the Champion Chase after that.”