By Geoffrey Riddle
Altior had been as short as 8-11 for the mouthwatering clash with Douvan, who was not rerouted to the Ryanair Chase at Monday’s declaration stage, and seven other rivals but was immediately shunted out to 5-4 on the back of the news.
Henderson said in a statement posted on Twitter:
“Altior was unfortunately lame this morning in his near fore leg in the frog (of his foot).
“He was still able to exercise in the water treadmill this morning, which he regularly does anyway, and a poultice will now be applied and left overnight to draw out the puss.
“The foot will also be ‘tubbed’ stood in salt water at regular intervals and the shoe will be hopefully replaced first thing tomorrow morning.
“Both our vet and farrier are working very hard and are more than hopeful that he will even be able to canter tomorrow and therefore confident he will be clear to race on Wednesday.
“Obviously we will monitor the situation and keep everybody up to date with his progress but there will be nothing more to say until tomorrow morning.”
Douvan is set to take his chance in the race despite trainer Willie Mullins and owner Rich Ricci suggesting on Sunday that they might avoid a clash with their other hope Min and wait for Thursday's chase feature.Douvan has already arrived at Cheltenham and underwent a leg stretch at the track on Monday. (PA)
However, he is among nine horses declared for the two-mile championship, setting up an intriguing he with Altior.
Douvan does have a point to prove as he has been out of action since disappointing in this race 12 months ago, when sent off the 2-9 favourite.
Min heads to the Cotswolds on the back of an emphatic victory in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown.
He has a score to settle with Altior, having been beaten seven lengths when they met in the Supreme in 2016.
Altior won last year's Arkle as well and Nicky Henderson's charge showed his well-being when he disposed of Politologue at Newbury last month. He had missed much of the season after undergoing a wind operation in the autumn.
Politologue, trained by Paul Nicholls, renews rivalry.
Last year's winner Special Tiara goes for glory again, with his trainer Henry de Bromhead also represented by Ordinary World. The field is completed by Ar Mad and Charbel,
The only withdrawal at the 48-hour final declaration stage was the Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux, who is set for the Ryanair.
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