Altior 13 Wins and Counting – A look back

Altior

Fresh off the back of a wonderful victory in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham six weeks ago, this weekend’s big draw is no doubt Seven Barrows’ leading charge Altior.

The majestic chaser will be hoping to follow last year’s imperious performance in winning the Bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown this Saturday for the second time and out do his previous stable mate Sprinter Sacre in doing so.

Altior will remarkably be hoping to add to his unbeaten streak which spans back to October 2015 and consists of 13 straight wins.

Along the way the eight-year-old has had some memorable victories on behalf of Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson and we’ve picked a few of the most momentous below.

Hurdling Debut 2015

Then a relative unknown, the rangy five-year-old was coming off the back off a fairly inconsistent spell in Bumpers prior to his first competitive Hurdles Race at Chepstow.

Nicky Henderson’s charge made easy work of the field winning by a massive 34 lengths.

This was to act as a preview to the jumps world of what might be to come and a precursor to his historic unbeaten record over fences.

Supreme Novices Hurdle

Henderson’s smart jumper continued his good form in 2015/16, winning all of his next three over hurdles.

Yet, it wasn’t until March 2016 when made his first serious impression on the wider racing public in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, the gateway for many of Jump racing’s future elite.

Nico De Boinville charged up the Cheltenham Hill, laying waste to his counterparts to romp home in fashionable style.

In hindsight, a victory made more impressive given the strength of the renewal that year. The likes of Min, Buveur D’Air, Supasundae and Petit Mouchoir, all who have gone on to win Grade One races were left behind by the gallant Altior.

Following Altior’s first Cheltenham victory De Boinville said: “I was seriously impressed – all season we’ve been waiting for a proper pace.” Following on by saying “He’ll make a lovely chaser someday.”

However, surely even he couldn’t have foreseen the run they would go on together.

Racing Post Henry VIII Novices’ Chase

Consistency has been one of Altior’s many great traits, no matter what has gone before he turns up and gets the job done.

Subsequently, the Seven Barrows team didn’t have to wait long before the eight-year-olds first back-to-back Grade One wins at Kempton.

This time with Noel Fehily on board, Altior went off at 1/9, jumping freely around the Sandown track winning by six lengths and justifying his outright favouritism.

Racing Post Arkle

It wasn’t long before the great chaser was back at Cheltenham to continue his special affinity with the Gloucestershire track.

Setting off as the 1/4 favourite, there was a large amount of doubt that many of the others could challenge the then seven-year-old.

However, It didnt go entirely to plan as the Kim Bailey trained Charbel gave him a brief a scare. Yet, the outcome was the same, he charged up the hill as he had done 12 months prior, showcasing the finishing speed Nicky Henderson had so often preached to the racing public.

Henderson was unsurprisingly chipper that his then seven-year-old maintained had unbeaten run over fences.

He said: “We knew he’d come up the hill. He’s very, very good and there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Queen Mother Champion Chase

The final and most recent of those 13 wins came during this year’s Cheltenham Festival. A mouth-watering race that featured three superstars, Min, Dovan and Altior.

During the race, Douvan looked to be travelling beautifully and looked a real threat four from home.

However, it was Altior that prevailed ahead of the Willie Mullins duo in particularly testing conditions to further etch his name in the history books as the only horse to complete a magnificent Cheltenham treble in winning the Supreme, Arkle and Champion Chase.

Following the race, his ever-present jockey Nico de Bionville said “that was sensational, he was in trouble all the way. Only his jumping kept him in it. It was a true test”.

He added: “I’m very lucky to be associated with him. He’s a freak.”

Should he continue the streak on Saturday as anticipated, the question becomes how far can he go?

Winning on Saturday would level him on 14 wins with the widely thought of ‘Greatest Flat Horse Ever’ Frankel. Yet, he would need another three to level with Australian sprinter sensation Black Caviar and a further four to move alongside the Paul Nicholls jumping sensation Big Bucks.

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