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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Altior next on Tiara's hitlist as De Bromhead eyes Celebration Chase

Noel Fehily celebrates victory on Special Tiara as Douvan trails home
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The giantkiller is stalking his next prey. Douvan has been defeated, now Special Tiara will to try to take down the awesome Altior.

Henry de Bromhead has confirmed the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown on April 29 will be the next challenge for his Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, where he is due to come face-to-face with the Racing Post Arkle victor in what promises to be a fantastic final act of the jumps season.

Altior had barely crossed the line in the Arkle when Nicky Henderson nominated the Celebration Chase as his next port of call, but he has failed to scare off De Bromhead, who is keen for his tenacious tearaway to have a crack at the unbeaten novice chaser.

"Special Tiara has come out of Cheltenham in great shape and it's all systems go for the Celebration Chase at Sandown,” said De Bromhead on Wednesday.

“His record is so bad in Ireland, for what reason I have no idea, so we're going to give Punchestown a swerve this year and show up at Sandown instead."

Special Tiara has already won the Celebration Chase, when he scampered away from Sprinter Sacre to win the 2015 running by six lengths. He finished third to Sire De Grugy in 2014, while his only other visit to Sandown was a near-miss in the 2015 Tingle Creek, in which he was badly hampered by Sire De Grugy at the last and went down by three-quarters of a length.

"He seems to absolutely love Sandown," continued De Bromhead. "The track seems to suit his style of racing and the fences come thick and fast down the back straight.

"I was absolutely thrilled with him at Cheltenham. He looked as good as ever. I thought after he'd jumped the first two fences that he was much lower and slicker than he's ever been. He has come out of the race very well and it makes sense to go to Sandown with him now."

Victory at Sandown for owner Sally Rowley-Williams' pride and joy will not be easy. Altior has excelled over fences so far and De Bromhead is a big fan.

"Altior has looked very good so far," he admitted. "It's hard to fault what he's done, but I'd imagine he'll be going a stride quicker at Sandown than he was at Cheltenham so you never know what might happen."

His record is so bad in Ireland, for what reason I have no idea, so we are going to give Punchestown a swerve this year and show up at Sandown instead
E.W. Terms
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