Scottish Daily Mail - - Racemail - By MAR­CUS TOW­NEND Rac­ing Cor­re­spon­dent

TRAINER Paul Ni­cholls says Cyr­name has had per­fect prepa­ra­tion for what prom­ises to be a sea­son­defin­ing clash with Al­tior in Satur­day’s Christy 1965 Chase at As­cot.

Two bril­liant wins over the course and dis­tance last win­ter make Cyr­name the higher rated horse.

But he is 5-4 with Co­ral, with Al­tior the 8-13 favourite, as the spotlight shines bright­est on Nicky Hen­der­son’s out­stand­ing geld­ing who has never been beaten over hur­dles or fences in a 19-race un­beaten se­quence.

How­ever, Satur­day’s race run over two miles and five fur­longs will be a step up in dis­tance and a trial for Al­tior to see if he should run in the three-mile King Ge­orge VI Chase at Kempton on Box­ing Day.

Ni­cholls said: ‘Cyr­name has had an away day at Win­can­ton. He lobbed around there for two miles. I am very happy with him. He is a clean-winded horse but you do not want to go to a race like this need­ing the run.

‘We have al­ways been go­ing there.

He has won twice at As­cot so it is the per­fect start­ing point for us. It is also the per­fect race for Al­tior if they want to go up in trip.’

Five horses have been en­tered in the Christy 1965 Chase, in­clud­ing Al­tior’s sta­ble­mate Top Notch.

Al­tior also still holds an en­try in Satur­day’s Bet­fair Chase at Hay­dock but Hen­der­son has said this is just an in­surance pol­icy should any­thing dis­rupt the As­cot fix­ture.

Ni­cholls runs the Ryanair Chase win­ner Frodon in the Bet­fair Chase, where the Nigel Twis­ton-Davies­trained Bris­tol De Mai bids to join Cue Card and Kauto Star as a three-time race win­ner.

Twis­ton-Davies also plans to run Char­lie Hall Chase win­ner Bal­ly­op­tic, while fel­low trainer Colin Tiz­zard looks like be­ing dou­ble­handed cour­tesy of Lostin­trans­la­tion and last sea­son’s Welsh Na­tional win­ner El­e­gant Es­cape.

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