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Nicky Henderson Quotes - Altior primed for Tingle Creek with Shishkin set for Monday trip to Kempton

  • We bring you the latest quotes from Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson
  • Henderson confirmed Altior will head for the Tingle Creek after a racecourse gallop at Newbury
  • Shishkin is being aimed at a Novice Chase at Kempton on Monday
  • Aidan Coleman will ride Epatante in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle later this month
Altior winning the Tingle Creek at Sandown in 2018. (Getty)

For the first time in five years, Cheltenham Festival fans didn't get to see Altior strut his stuff at Prestbury Park in 2020. A split issue arose just days before Nicky Henderson's star went for his third Champion Chase, forcing him out of the Festival at very late notice.

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During Henderson's stable tour with Unibet, he confirmed that Altior was back to full fitness and his usual exuberant self on the gallops. The four-time Cheltenham Festival winner was part of a strong of horses Henderson took to Newbury for a racecourse gallop this week, and the Champion Trainer was pleased with the work his start star produced.

"He looked quite dreamy out there today." Henderson told the press. "I had to use him as a pacemaker. He enjoyed himself, but he is better aiming at something. He is miles better when he is aiming at a fence.

"When you see him schooling, it's frightening and you think you should be aiming at the King's Stand not the Tingle Creek, he is so quick. Nico might enjoy it, but I certainly don't. He is just brilliant, and that lights his fire."

"He is good and is heading for the Tingle Creek. He loves his jumping. If you would have seen him on Thursday, it was terrifying. He just jumped fences."

Nicky Henderson then went on to discuss plans for two of his Cheltenham Festival winners from this year. First up was Shishkin, and Henderson has earmarked a novices' chase over two-miles at Kempton on Monday as his Supreme winner's first target of the campaign.

"I'm thinking of Kempton on Monday." Henderson said on Tuesday. "He's got a piece of work to do tomorrow morning and then school and then we might go to Kempton. It's the race we used for Altior and it's just fallen at the right time, while Kempton is a good course to start them off."

Epatante (left) jumps the last on her way to winning the 2020 Champion Hurdle (Getty)

On the same day that Shishkin landed the Supreme, Epatante secured yet another victory for Henderson in the Champion Hurdle. Epatante will make her reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at the end of the month and, with Nico De Boinville set to go to Newbury to ride on Ladbrokes Trophy day, Henderson revealed that Aidan Coleman will return to Epatante's saddle at Newcastle. 

Henderson continued, "Aidan Coleman will ride Epatante at Newcastle. It's part of the plan, because Nico will be here (At Newbury)."

"Aidan was due to be here this morning, but unfortunately we were told yesterday that jockeys couldn't ride at a race meeting and here.

"JP has got a lot of horses, and Aidan is going to be riding a few of them - there is no particular retained jockey in this country.

"He won the Gerry Feilden on her last year, so he has ridden her before."

Marie's Rock was part of the string Altior led up at Newbury, and Henderson confirmed his unbeaten mare would make her return from injury in the Gerry Feilden.

Buveur D'Air is yet to begin fast work following that horrific splinter injury he suffered in last year's Fighting Fifth. Although Henderson confirmed he wouldn't be fit enough to run at Christmas, he was confident the two-time Champion Hurdle winner would be back in time for the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown, before having a crack at Epatante at the Cheltenham Festival. 

William Hill makes Altior their 6/4 favourite for the Tingle Creek, which takes place at Sandown on Saturday 5th December. Greaneteen is the 4/1 second-favourite, ahead of Champion Chase winner Politologue, Rouge Vif and Defi Du Seuil.

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