Christy 1965 Chase Preview
All roads lead to Ascot’s Christy 1965 Chase for a mouth watering clash of equine giants ALTIOR and CYRNAME that should see the course full to capacity whilst answering some unanswered questions at to which routes the respective horses will take for the remainder of the season.
Shading favouritism at 4-5 with Hollywoodbets is Altior, a four times Cheltenham Festival winner who has won 20 of his 22 career starts for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Many admirers of the 9yo felt he wasn’t at his best last season but the statistics prove otherwise. He went through the campaign unbeaten in five and if succeeding today will stretch his overall unbeaten sequence to 20. He has won all five starts over hurdles and is unbeaten in 14 chases, including an Arkle and two Champion Chases.
His jockey, Nico de Boinville, is unbeaten in 17 rides on the 175-rated Gelding hero and will not hear of defeat for him, a dual scorer at Ascot and unbeaten over obstacles. De Boinville said: “We know Cyrname is bound to be fit and will give us a tow round, but I won’t be riding Altior any differently. I don’t think he’s an underdog in this clash, but if things don’t work out he can always drop back to be dominant over two miles.”
Henderson is sportingly taking Altior up another level on the distance ladder to give the jumping cognoscenti the clash everyone wants to see and the trainer is only too aware that so far his career has been all about speed. However, if the gelding successfully rises to the challenge today there’s every chance he will then step up to three miles for a shot at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Henderson observed: “If you’d seen him work last week you say it can’t be the right thing to be stepping him up in trip. If he’s a stayer he’s the most remarkable horse I’ve ever seen. The way he works doesn’t tell me he’s going to stay. He has such speed, so I hope his jumping helps him relax because when he goes into attack mode that’ll be it.”
In spite of Altior’s dominance, CYRNAME was rated 1lb his superior on 176 at the end of the 2018/19 campaign. The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding is looking to give his trainer a record seventh win in this race and his jockey Harry Cobden is mindful that only a career best from his mount will suffice to beat the favourite.
Cobden said: “Altior is stepping up in trip while we are proven at it. I schooled Cyrname the other day and he was in great form. I don’t know whether he’s improved, but he felt brilliant. If he improves in excess of his current rating then God knows what he is, but he’s done plenty of work and is ready to fire.
His Ascot form when winning a Grade 1 by 17 lengths is pretty impressive and earned him his mark.”
Prediction – Christy 1965 Chase
1st – ALTIOR
2nd – Cyrname
3rd – Solomon Grey
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