Altior makes the return to two miles as he lines up in the Game Spirit Chase (2m½f) at Newbury today.
The ten-year-old had his colours lowered at Ascot in November by Cyrname when he stepped up to 2m5f for the first time in his career.
That defeat saw trainer Nicky Henderson and Altior’s connections rethink the season. This race is being used as a springboard to the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next month.
The Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle (2m½f) and the Grade 2 Denman Chase (2m7½f) also feature on Newbury’s card today.
Warwick’s card is headlined by the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase (2m) while there are also jumps fixtures from Uttoxeter and Naas (Ireland) today.
Lingfield and Wolverhampton race on the all-weather.
Triple blow for Mullins
Willie Mullins’ squad for the Cheltenham Festival was dealt a severe blow on Friday when Saldier, Klassical Dream and Douvan were all ruled out of the four-day meeting.
In his Racing Post column for Saturday, Mullins said: “We had to withdraw Klassical Dream from the PCI Irish Champion Hurdle last weekend, but the leg infection he picked up and which looked a minor problem on Friday night has turned out to be a bit more serious and we’ve decided to leave him alone. Unfortunately, he’s going to miss the rest of the season.
“Saldier hasn’t progressed well enough since the setback he had after winning the Morgiana Hurdle in November and he won’t make the Festival. We’ll just have to see how things go and, hopefully, he might make it back for Punchestown.
“It’s the same story with Douvan and he, too, won’t be going to the Festival where he is entered for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. We’re just not happy with him.”
Sans Frontieres joins Vauterhill Stud
Irish St Leger hero Sans Frontieres has relocated from Coolmore’s Beeches Stud in Ireland and joined the roster at Vauterhill Stud.
The son of Galileo is the replacement for Linda’s Lad, who recently moved to Yorton Farm Stud from Vauterhill.
Graham Heal, speaking to the Racing Post, said: “We were looking for a replacement for Linda’s Lad and Richard Venn thought he would be a decent replacement, and with a bit of luck he will be.
“I was very impressed by Easy As That the other day, and Sans Frontieres should do quite well down here in the West Country.”