Champion Chase favourite Altior made a winning return to action at Newbury in the Game Spirit Chase, defying a 287-day absence to win in great style and justify his odds of 1/3.

Making his belated start to the season following a wind operation, last year’s Arkle winner looked as good as ever when easing past Politologue to record a comfortable four-length victory. Politologue came into this race with a rating of 165 after three straight wins, including the Grade 1 Tingle Creek, but was made to look average by the brilliant Altior.

Training Nicky Henderson was unsurprisingly delighted, saying: “He has to improve a lot. He’s had a nice time. The timing was good, he hasn’t had a hard race, he hasn’t even had his ground and he’s beaten a good horse. You’d have to say that was perfection, from my point of view.”

Now unbeaten in 12 starts over jumps, Altior was cut to odds-on across the board for the Champion Chase next month, where he’ll be looking to make it three wins in-a-row at the festival.