Handicapper still believes in Arkle winner Altior
Altior could yet prove himself a better novice than Sprinter Sacre or Douvan if he gets the chance to prove it against Special Tiara on the last day of the season at Sandown next month.
That is the view of the BHA handicapper Graeme Smith, who said: "I still definitely believe in him."
His fan still dropped the Arkle winner's rating to 168 from 170, which leaves him a pound shy of his illustrious former stable companion and Douvan at the same stage of their careers.
Writing on the BHA website Smith said: "I still think he'll surpass 170 when the opportunity presents itself. Maybe a clash with Special Tiara in the Celebration Chase at Sandown on the final day of the season could materialise."
Smith is in no doubt Altior would have beaten Charbel had his rival not fallen when still leading at the second-last.
"Some watchers were left deflated by the fact he was off the bridle in second when handed the race by Charbel's departure at the second last; but study of the sectional times offers more than a little mitigation," he said.
On the clock
Referring to his own hand timing Smith said Altior's time was half a second faster than Special Tiara in the Champion Chase which came off a stronger gallop on similar conditions.
"Charbel was very much allowed his own way in front and dictated a pace that saw him reach the third last fence some 4.5sec or 20l slower than Special Tiara had.
"The fact the Arkle field had enough left to make up that deficit and more underlines how the race developed at a much later stage than the Champion.
"Altior had to be driven to respond to Charbel's kick initially but he had closed the gap to half a length when Charbel departed and, realistically, was only just beginning to get going."
Smith pointed to six lengths covering the first three in a falsely-run race counting against Altior's assessment.
Smith added: "Charbel can of course have his rating raised having got as far as the second-last and I moved him from 147 to 154. His pre-race 147 was made to look on the low side by both Max Ward's win last Saturday and his earlier defeat of Top Notch. Cloudy Dream was also raised, from 147 to 153."