‘Devastating for all of us’: Altior ruled out of Cheltenham

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  • The 2018 and 2019 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, Altior, has been ruled out of going for a third tilt at the race at this week’s Cheltenham Festival.

    The 11-year-old’s trainer Nicky Henderson reported today (15 March) that he had returned an unsatisfactory scope after working this morning.

    Breaking the news via his Twitter account, Nicky said: “We are very sorry that we have taken the decision not to run Altior in the Champion Chase on Wednesday. He coughed after exercise this morning, which caused us to scope him, and as a result of what we have seen it would not be sensible to run him.

    “This is devastating for all of us, and Pat and Christopher Pugh [Altior’s owner and her husband] in particular, in that this is the second year running that we have had to pull him out at the last minute. His work and schooling last week were as good as we have ever seen and we couldn’t have been happier with his whole preparation.

    “Not surprisingly, this is a bitter blow to all of us and we are so sorry for everyone that he will not be there on Wednesday.”

    Altior, who is by High Chaparral, has so far amassed £1,296,219 in prize money and has won 21 of his 25 races.

    Chacun Pour Soi heads a final field of 10 for this Grade One race, which includes Nube Negra, who beat Altior in the Grade two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

    Continues below…

    Another notable absentee from this week’s racing at the Cheltenham Festival will be Annie Mc, who was also announced a non-runner this morning.

    Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, the seven-year-old mare owned by Coral Champions Club, had been a real-live chance in Friday’s Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.

    Jonjo tweeted: “Sadly Annie Mc has suffered a small setback and will not run in the Mares’ Chase on Friday. Unfortunately Cheltenham has just come a week too soon for her.”

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