CYRNAME TO TEST ALTIOR
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.