A small but select cast of three will contest the Grade 1 Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday 19th January including Altior, the current superstar of Jumps racing.
The three-time Cheltenham Festival winner will be chasing a 17th consecutive victory and looking to maintain his unbeaten record over obstacles, a run that stretches back to October 2015. Nicky Henderson’s stable star is the highest rated horse in training and having already won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton this season, he arrives in fine form ready to hopefully put on another exciting round of jumping for racegoers to enjoy on Saturday.
His two competitors are both Grade 1 winners themselves though so he might not have it all his own way. The Paul Nicholl’s trained seven-year-old Diego Du Charmil won at the Aintree Grand National meeting last year while Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton won at the 2017 Aintree and Punchestown Festivals and is returning from a long break.
Elsewhere on the card there is more graded action in the Grade 2 Olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle which has produced some excellent winners in the past including La Bague Au Roi and Vroum Vroum Mag. The two big handicaps on the card look likely to deliver competitive fields once again with both the Grade 3 Matchbook Holloway’s Handicap Hurdle and the bet365 Handicap Chase attracting excellent entry numbers. Final fields will be confirmed on Friday morning.