Christy 1965 Chase Preview
Last updated: November 22, 2019 by Leon Marshal
The highlight of Saturday’s card at Ascot is the £70,000 Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase over two miles and five furlongs at 2.05. The race title commemorates the first jump racing staged at Ascot and has been won by several top steeplechasers in the past.
Wayward Lad (1981), Deep Sensation (1992) and Red Marauder (1998) all feature on the roll of honour. Master Minded (2010, 2011) became the first horse to win the race twice, a feat replicated by Al Ferof (2013, 2014). Both horses were trained by Paul Nicholls who scored for a record sixth time last year with Politologue.
Altior and Cyrname set to clash at Ascot
The race has attracted the two highest rated steeplechasers in training in Altior and Cyrname. Remarkably, Cyrname is officially rated 1lb higher than the prolific Altior who is unbeaten in his last 19 races.
Cyrname is the latest superstar to emerge from the Paul Nicholls stable, storming to a 17 lengths victory over course and distance in the Ascot Chase in February. The son of Nickname has not been seen since but is being aimed at the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Prior to that victory, Cyrname had thrashed a field of handicappers here which resulted in a 15lbs rise in the weights. The handicapper revised that assessment by a further 11lbs after his Ascot Chase success. Both victories were achieved with a magnificent display of front-running and he has “home advantage” by meeting Altior over his optimum track and distance. Nicholls has expressed a reluctance to run the gelding over a left-handed track, hence his reappearance here before a trip to Kempton Park.
Altior buzzing ahead of Ascot run
Nicky Henderson has committed Altior to running beyond two miles this season but added a cautionary note last week. He reports that Altior has been so fast and aggressive in his recent work that he will have to be truly exceptional to be as effective over longer distances.
Altior has won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Arkle Chase and Queen Mother Champion Chase (twice), all over two miles. Over the past couple of seasons he has looked as though he would relish a further half a mile but nobody knows for certain. He faces the acid test on Saturday as he goes into unknown territory.
Not surprisingly, the presence of these two star chasers has scattered the opposition. Keeper Hill and Solomon Grey are not in the same league but Henderson has also declared the tough and consistent Top Notch. He is officially rated a stone inferior to Altior but does have a fitness advantage after a recent win over hurdles at Aintree.
The outcome of the race may come down to fitness with both leading protagonists returning after lengthy absences. The result will have a massive impact on the ante-post betting for the King George and the markets on the top Cheltenham Festival races.
Altior @8-11 at 888Sport
The Christy 1965 Chase is due off at 2.05 at Ascot on Saturday 23rd November and will be televised live on ITV.