Champion Chase favourite Altior suffers fitness scare ahead of Cheltenham

Champion Chase favourite Altior suffers fitness scare ahead of Cheltenham

Altior has suffered a fitness scare in preparation for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.

The star eight-year-old is hot favourite for the two-mile championship, but has developed lameness in a leg.

Trainer Nicky Henderson said he will have a more definitive idea of whether or not he runs at Cheltenham on Tuesday morning.

The Seven Barrows handler said in a statement posted on his Twitter account: "Altior was unfortunately lame this morning in his near-fore leg and we have located some pus in the frog (of his foot).

"He was still able to exercise in the water treadmill this morning, which he regularly does anyway, and a poultice will now be applied and left on overnight to draw out the pus.

"The foot will also be 'tubbed' (stood in salt water) at regular intervals and the shoe will hopefully be replaced first thing tomorrow morning.

"Both our vet and farrier are working very hard and are more than hopeful that he will even be able to canter tomorrow and therefore confident he will be clear to race on Wednesday.

"Obviously we will monitor the situation and keep everybody up to date with his progress, but there will nothing more to say until tomorrow morning."

Altior is unbeaten in seven starts over fences and is due to face Irish ace Douvan in the showpiece event on day two of the big meeting.

Henderson's ace has missed most of the season after undergoing wind surgery in November but made a most accomplished return to action in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury last month.

- PA

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