Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY DAVID YATES

DRY­ING ground could see Al­tior go off at the short­est price of his ca­reer if his only se­ri­ous ri­val, Un De Sceaux, misses Satur­day’s Clarence House Chase.

At present the un­beaten Nicky Hen­der­son-trained chas­ing su­per­star is a 1-4 shot to ex­tend his win­ning run to 17 at As­cot, but 1-10 could be the call if Wil­lie Mullins de­cides to keep Un De Sceaux at home.

Yes­ter­day clerk of the course Chris Stick­els said vet­eran weath­er­man John Ket­t­ley was pre­dict­ing rain would hit the Royal heath on Fri­day and Satur­day. And Mullins (below) voiced a pref­er­ence for softer ter­rain for his stable stal­wart who will be at­tempt­ing a fourth straight vic­tory in the race if get­ting the green light to run.

“We have to see what the weather is like. At the mo­ment he’s in, and we are work­ing as if we are run­ning there, but it’s a con­cern.

“I’m very pleased with him but were just keep­ing an eye on the weather fore­cast.”

But Hen­der­son has no wor­ries over con­di­tions for Al­tior, four lengths too strong for Un De Sceaux in the Tin­gle Creek Chase at Sandown Park in De­cem­ber and an ef­fort­less win­ner of Kemp­ton Park’s Desert Orchid Chase over Christ­mas.

“We love good ground — like it was at Kemp­ton,” said Hen­der­son yes­ter­day. “He was foot per­fect.

“He worked yes­ter­day with Brain Power, who is go­ing to Hay­dock, and ev­ery­thing is good.”

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