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Playing for second: six times Paul Nicholls has been defeated by Altior

Filling second: Politologue (right) has finished second behind Altior (left) twice
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With the clash between Altior and Cyrname touted as a possibility at Sandown's end-of-season meeting, we look at the six previous occasions when Paul Nicholls-trained runners finished second to the Nicky Henderson winning machine

Politologue
Queen Mother Champion Chase, 2019

Politologue and Sceau Royal gave Altior a fright at Cheltenham when challenging at the last either side of the defending champion. The grey had travelled effortlessly into the race and while he found more than Sceau Royal up the hill, he could not quite win his duel with Altior, who won his second Champion Chase by a length and three-quarters.

Diego Du Charmil
Desert Orchid Chase, 2018

If the 19-day gap between the Tingle Creek at Sandown and Altior's Kempton assignment posed a question, it was answered emphatically by the 1-8 favourite. Altior served up a post-Christmas treat for racegoers to win by 19 lengths on the bridle from Diego Du Charmil.

San Benedeto
Celebration Chase, 2018

Altior was not at his best after his first Champion Chase victory, but he had enough in the tank to showcase his trademark turn of foot and power away from San Benedeto, who could not go with Patricia Pugh’s star in the closing stages.

Altior: defeated San Benedeto (far side) at Sandown last year

Politologue
Game Spirit Chase, 2018

With Altior arguably at his most vulnerable on his return from a prolonged absence and wind surgery, Politologue seemed a genuine threat at Newbury – after all, he had won the Tingle Creek two months earlier. However, Altior challenged at the last and was pushed comfortably clear by Nico de Boinville on the run-in to win by four lengths.

Marracudja
Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase, 2016

Marracudja must have been dismayed about facing Altior over fences for a second time, having already been comprehensively defeated by the superstar that month and over hurdles the previous season. Different race, same outcome. Marracudja finished closer than ever before, a mere 18 lengths adrift.

Black Corton
Novices’ Chase, 2016

Unlike his stablemates, Black Corton had no choice other than to finish second behind Altior as it was a simple match between the two. Black Corton went on to be a smart novice chaser, but the Kempton contest was only a match in name, as 63 lengths separated the pair at the line.


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Arguably at his most vulnerable on his return from a prolonged absence and wind surgery, Politologue seemed a genuine threat at Newbury
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