2pts win Altior @4/7, 15:00 Newbury, Saturday

Odds-on favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham, ALTIOR runs over two miles today at Newbury in open company, facing Colin Tizzard’s exciting Fox Norton and the untapped potential of Gary Moore’s Traffic Fluide.

Fox Norton is returning from injury and it seems unlikely he’ll be fully wound up, with an eye on Festival week in March and a tilt at the Champion Chase or Ryanair the main target.

His form is largely irrelevant, though, such is the brilliance of Altior.

Nicky Henderson’s stable star has been foot-perfect in all three chase starts this season and his novice hurdling form is about as good as it can get.

A hugely impressive winner of last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival – where he beat the talented Min and Champion Hurdle favourite Buveur D’Air – he’s racked up a sequence of eight wins and should be long, long odds-on for this assignment.

He gets 5lb from Fox Norton and should have no issue brushing aside Dodging Bullets, whose best days are long gone.

Traffic Fluide is also returning from injury and would have to put up a massive appearance to even get close to Altior, so he hardly ranks a threat.

Altior is 4/7, which is hardly the most exciting price, but I’m confident it’s full of value and it has to be taken.

Fill your boots.

2pts win Altior @4/7, 15:00 Newbury, Saturday (Betfair)

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