Betfair Exchange Chase
|(Registered as the Game Spirit Chase)
Grade 2 Handicap, Newbury 15:00
£50,000 added, 5yo plus,
2m 92yds, Class 1
|Saturday 10th February 2018
1 Altior 1/3F
2 Politologue 5/2
3 Valdez 25/1
3 ran Distances: 4l, 13l
Time: 4m 19.60s (slow by 20.60s)
Altior remains unbeaten over fences
Altior (right) on his way to winning the Betfair Exchange Chase
Altior (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) landed the G1 Arkle Novices' Chase and G1 Celebration Chase last spring but had been on the sidelines so far this season after undergoing a wind operation.
Held up in last of the three runners, Altior made smooth progress to challenge Politologue (Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies) at the last and surged clear on the run-in to score by a comfortable four lengths. Valdez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was another 13 lengths adrift in third.
A delighted Nicky Henderson said: "If I had dreamt what was going to happen, that would've been just about it. He took a blow between the last two but it was exactly what we wanted and he didn't make a noise.
"He is in brilliant form. He has had three bits of work since Sandown in April. He had a good blow and that is not his ground, but he's jumped well out of it.
"He's travelled well, he has so many gears and he has just got class - he is just pure class. He's very good. His work is so easy and whilst we have a wonderful bunch of horses, not many can go with him so it's quite hard to sacrificing horses to work with him!
"There must be a lot of improvement in him. His weight was good, he wasn't far off where he should be. He is not going to run again until March so hopefully there are no further issues or problems, but you have to say that was just perfection.
"If he was going to get beaten that was today, he was more vulnerable today than he was ever going to be, but he's beaten some good horses there and that was superb.
"It was going to be tactical today and I didn't know who was going to do what. That was exactly what we wanted - this horse has got so much pace and I was fairly confident that, if he could get to the second-last upsides on the bridle, it would be a very hard horse that go with him from there.
"He has to improve a lot but he has a nice time. That was perfection from my point of view - the timing was good, he hasn't had a hard race, he hasn't had his ground but has beaten a good horse.
"Altior has to win in March and then he is getting close to the big boys' shoes. We have always said that they are very, very big feet and this guy's feet are getting a little bit bigger as we along but that was a big step in a big direction."
Nico de Boinville added: "He felt fantastic. That ground would have been softer than ideal but he has handled it well and I couldn't hear any noises or anything like that. It was a big effort from everybody in the yard to get him back to today and it has probably come a bit earlier than we wanted but all credit to the guv'nor and Toby Lawes, who rides him every day at home.
"We knew coming here that he was very fresh and very well. We haven't been able to do much because the ground has been so frosty this week but he was very good there."
Owner John Hales said of the runner-up Politologue: "We were beaten by a better horse on the day.
"The winner is an exceptional horse but we will take him on again."
Sam Twiston-Davies added: "There was nothing disappointing about it. He has jumped, travelled and done everything right but was just beaten by a very good horse. He's a freak.
"Nico told me he was going to make it but he didn't, so I did and I went a nice, even gallop. It was a fair animal to get past because we really picked up after the ditch and winged all the way up the straight."
Betfair Exchange Chase
(Registered As The Game Spirit Chase) (Grade 2)
£50,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 92y, Class 1
||Altior (IRE) 1/3f
||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson
||Politologue (FR) 5/2
|P F Nicholls
Betfair Exchange Chase – Roll of Honour
YEAR WINNER TRAINER JOCKEY AGE/WEIGHT SP RAN
2017 ALTIOR NJ Henderson Nico de Boinville 07-11-05 30/100F 4
2016 TOP GAMBLE Kerry Lee Richard Johnson 08-11-05 10/11F 4
2015 MR MOLE Paul Nicholls A P McCoy 07-11-06 7/2 5
2014 MODULE Tom George Paddy Brennan 07-11-02 11/8F 4
2013 WISHFULL THINKING Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson 10-11-06 4/1 6
2012 SPRINTER SACRE Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 06-11-05 2/5F 6
2011 FRENCH OPERA Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 08-11-05 7/2 7
2010 MASTER MINDED Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 07-11-10 8/13F 5
2009 Abandoned - Snow
2008 MASTER MINDED Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 05-11-04 7/4 6
2007 WELL CHIEF David Pipe Timmy Murphy 08-11-00 5/2 8
*2006 DON’T BE SHY Martin Pipe Timmy Murphy 05-10-11 5/4F 4
2005 AZERTYUIOP Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 08-11-10 11/10F 6
2004 AZERTYUIOP Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 07-11-05 4/11F 6
2003 KADARANN Paul Nicholls Joe Tizzard 06-11-04 5/1 5
2002 LADY CRICKET Martin Pipe A P McCoy 08-11-01 15/8 7
2001 FUNCTION DREAM Mary Reveley Anthony Ross 09-11-03 7/4 6
2000 FLAGSHIP UBERALLES Paul Nicholls Joe Tizzard 06-11-13 1/4F 3
1999 CELIBATE Charlie Mann Mick Fitzgerald 08-11-03 7/2 6
1998 ASK TOM Tom Tate Russ Garritty 09-11-10 13/8F 4
1997 DOUBLE SYMPHONY Charlie Brooks Jamie Osborne 09-10-12 4/5F 3
1996 VIKING FLAGSHIP David Nicholson Adrian Maguire 09-11-10 5/2 6
1995 NAKIR Simon Christian Jamie Osborne 07-11-10 5/2 3
1994 VIKING FLAGSHIP David Nicholson Adrian Maguire 07-11-10 3/1 5
1993 WATERLOO BOY David Nicholson Richard Dunwoody 10-11-07 9/4 5
1992 WATERLOO BOY David Nicholson Richard Dunwoody 09-11-10 10/11F 6
*Run at Lingfield Park after Newbury was abandoned because of frost