2022 1965 Chase Betting Odds at Ascot racecourse

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Paul Nicholls is no stranger to having chasing superstars in his stable, having previously saddled the likes of Kauto Star and Denman.

However, it’s been a while since the former champion trainer had a horse with the calibre of Cyrname, with the charge having scored at Ascot in January and February last season.

The seven-year-old claimed victory in the bet365 Chase over two miles and five furlongs before another win at the same course when triumphing in the Betfair Ascot Chase. The latter was a Grade 1 encounter and brings him right into the reckoning for a showdown with Altior this season.

Nicholls currently has his horse tiled towards the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot in November, with the trainer typically bullish about his chances, even though Altior has a tremendous unbeaten record which spans over several seasons.

Nicholls told Sky Sports Racing: "One has got form over two (miles) in Altior and this horse has form over two-five. It will be some clash if they meet at Ascot. He (Cyrname) doesn't have to run from the front, but it suits him doing that. Kempton can be a front-runners track if you jump and gallop and he is slightly better right-handed.

"He is a high-class horse who will hopefully keep going forward, (but) he has got to get three miles yet. It's a bit like Altior - it's great being able to gallop and get two-mile-five and he (Cyrname) suggested at Ascot he will get three, but until they actually do it you don't know for sure.”

Racing fans will hope this is the start of a fantastic new rivalry, with the horses both likely to be entered in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Altior is currently trading at odds of 3/1 to win the encounter, although there’s still the question mark over whether the horse will be able to get a three-mile trip.

According to the latest odds, it would appear that Altior is an unlikely Gold Cup contender at the Cheltenham Festival unless he really proved himself over a longer distance in the meantime, with trainer Nicky Henderson eager to push the horse’s limits this time around.

Writing in his blog for Unibet, the Seven Barrows trainer said: "I'd like to make it clear that nothing is set in stone as to what he is going to do. After a brief chat with Patricia Pugh (owner, on Sunday) we will all sit down again in the very near future and make a decision as to which route we take.

"It was the same a few years ago when we had to decide whether to stay hurdling and aim for the Unibet Champion Hurdle or go novice chasing, but I think it's fair to say we made the right decision on that front!

"We all know how good Altior is at two miles and I suppose you could say if we are the best at one thing, why change it? But I personally think he's looking for another half a mile in which case we have to start thinking about is the King George where we want to go?

"I have a huge amount of respect for Cyrname and I'm not afraid to take him on with Altior, but it is by no means certain that they will meet in the Ascot Chase as many have suggested and there's no doubt we'll do what's right for the horse.

"Altior is back at Seven Barrows and cantering away nicely so everything is going well and as soon as we have made a decision about where he'll start his season, I'll let you know!"