National Hunt’s Champion Chaser To Start Up His Engine At Sandown
Following a long summer break, Seven Barrow’s maestro Nicky Henderson is set to call on his stable’s star chaser once again.
Henderson is finally doing away with his speedy superstar’s warm coat and unleashing his well primed chaser onto Sandown Racecourse for their premier Jumps race.
Following a seven month break from the track, this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase winner is set to line up in this weekend’s prestigious Grade One Tingle Creek Chase.
However, this isn’t the first time Altior has reappeared at Sandown’s early December meeting although it will be his first attempt as The Tingle Creek Chase, one of the few graded two mile chase’s the eludes him.
In 2016, Altior opened up his campaign in the Grade One Henry VIII Novice’s Chase, currently a part of the Tingle Creek meeting. What would follow was an impressive victory that would mark his sixth consecutive victory over obstacles and second chasing.
Two years on however and with the prestigious Tingle Creek still eluding his form card, Henderson has his charge well primed for his first outing. Speaking on record last week Henderson enthused that his charge had been ‘frighteningly good’ ahead of what he states will be a tough race.
Back alongside companion and regular rider Nico De Boinville, Altior is a well fancied favourite for the two mile chase that will most likely have implications on the other big races throughout the season.
Amongst his likely competitors, young pretender Saint Calvados looks to have the best chance following a surprise victory against Willie Mullins’ respected Footpad.
Others to watch out for include the highly talented if slightly unpredictable Un De Sceaux, a previous Tingle Creek winner and Grade one winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
Elsewhere, Alan King’s Sceau Royal who comes off the back of a Grade Two win at the Cheltenham November Meeting and his previous run may well give him the chance to dish out a true fitness test.
One of the less talked about narrative’s although equally as impressive as any single victory is Altior’s wild consistency that has endured a monumental 14 race unbeaten run. Although many of us now take his victories for granted, each of them nails another victory to the mast of his storied run and eventual legacy.
When revisiting the role of honour in terms of those that have maintained consistency to this level its clear to see that he’s keeping elite company. Big Buck’s leads the way with an unprecedented 18, Altior is level with Douvan on 14 with the likes of Denman and Sprinter Sacre only managed nine and 10 respectively.
It could well be the kiss of death but with a four of five race season likely upcoming, there’s every chance that he may well be looking to tie up Big Buck’s record by the end of the 2018 / 2019 season.