JUMP racing superstar Altior is ready to pick up the winning habit again at Newbury on Saturday when he will bid for his third success in the Grade Two Win Bigger On The Betfair Exchange Chase.

The reigning champion chaser reverts to two miles for his first start since suffering the only defeat over jumps of his career in a head-to-head with Cyrname at Ascot in November, run over two miles five furlongs, with trainer Nicky Henderson confident he can prove himself again.

Altior heads 10 entries for the £50,000 prize, a race he won in 2017 and 2018, and which also includes Sceau Royal and Kalashnikov plus Dynamite Dollars, who has been off the track since January last year.

Altior, winner of 19 out of 20 starts over jumps, was beaten two-and-a-quarter lengths when connections took up the challenge of a clash with Cyrname, the highest-rated British jumper in training, over a new distance in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot.

He has not raced since after a possible start at Ascot in January was scrapped when Altior was found to have a minor abscess on his wither, which has now cleared up.

Henderson said: “Altior schooled last week. You might have seen the film. You would seriously wonder why in the world we would want to go further than two miles. No horse in England would keep up with what he was going the other day, not one. Blink and you would have missed it, but that’s him. He works as well as ever.”

The trainer admitted the race at Ascot over five furlongs further than his regular trip on testing ground had been the wrong option for a seasonal comeback.

“I just think Ascot didn’t help either horse at the end of the day,” he said. “The problem was it was the first run of the year. If you do that later in the year that’s fine, but they were both having their first run and that is not the time to do that."

He continued: “Altior has to prove himself again and I think he can. He’s been beaten once in a two mile five race in a bog when he wasn’t half ready for it. That doesn’t mean he’s old. He got beaten. It was going to happen and that was the day. He had a very hard race and he was very tired.

“It wasn’t stamina because he didn’t finish any further behind the winner than he was two out. He wasn’t straight enough and the ground was horrible. It’s going to be a decent race on Saturday. There are 10 in there so they’re not frightened of him.”

Henderson will use the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase to try to bring about a revival in Might Bite, the 2017 King George VI Chase winner who has not completed his last three starts.

It will mean another meeting with old rival Native River, who defeated Might Bite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 when he also won the Betfair Denman Chase for the second time.

Meanwhile, Not So Sleepy is one of 30 acceptors for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle as he aims to claim the £100,000 Betfair Winter Bonus.