Nicky Henderson has mooted the possibility of Altior running in a rescheduled Peterborough Chase should it be staged at Taunton after defending his decision to miss the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase.
Henderson withdrew the dual Champion Chase hero from the Sandown Grade One as he did not want to risk his superstar two-miler on what he felt was heavy, holding ground and risk bottoming him – as happened at Ascot in November last year, after which he did not run again until February.
The Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas is a more likely next port of call, but Henderson would give the Peterborough consideration should it be switched to the Somerset track, as it was in 2017 after Huntingdon was cancelled due to flooding.
“That was not what Altior likes going on. He would not like it. It was heavy, sticky, the hurdle course is very, very soft and on the chase course, there’s a nice bit down the back but that’s all,” Henderson told Racing TV.
“He does not go in it. He’d probably win in it, but it’s what the damage will do to him and I’m not prepared to do that.
“The Peterborough Chase has been abandoned at Huntingdon. Two or three years ago it was moved to Taunton. If they would like to move the Peterborough Chase to Taunton where the ground is good, I’d run him. Well I would certainly think about it, but I have got others in there I must admit.
“It’s two miles three and a half at Taunton – that’s going to be an awful lot easier than going round here.”
Henderson stressed the horse’s welfare was what mattered most.
“Our job is to look after these horses. This (Tingle Creek) is a Grade One, I want to run in it – (but) if it’s not right for the horse, I can’t do it. That is the only thing that matters,” he added.
“You saw how he finished at Ascot last year, when Nico (de Boinville) had to lead him into the unsaddling enclosure because the horse was too tired to be ridden in.
“Do you want to see that happen again? That is welfare. And the welfare of the horse is the only thing that matters.”