Altior

Altior

According to Timeform, Altior is currently the second highest rated steeplechaser in training, behind only Chacun Pour Soi. Indeed, until November, 2019, when beaten 2¼ lengths by Cyrname in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot, on his first attempt beyond 2 miles 1 furlong, Altior had won all 14 starts over fences and extended his unbeaten sequence to 19 races.

As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Altior made his first appearance, as a six-year-old, in 2016. After justifying favouritism with an impressive, 13-length victory in the William Hill On Your Mobile Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, to take his career record over the smaller obstacles to 4-4, he was sent off 4/1 second favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He travelled and jumped well, lead approaching the final flight and readily outpaced favourite Min in the closing stages to win, impressively, by 7 lengths.

Sent over fences at the start of the 2016/17 season, Altior won his first four starts, including the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, all at long odds-on, en route to the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival. Defending an unblemished record over obstacles, of any description, he was sent off at prohibitive odds of 1/4 to maintain his 100% record and did so with a minimum of fuss. His task was made easier by the departure of leader Charbel at the second-last fence, but he probably would have won anyway and drew clear in the final hundred yards to win by 6 lengths.

Two routine victories later, again both at long odds-on, Altior was back at the Cheltenham Festival for his first attempt in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2018. Sent off even money favourite, ahead of his old rival Min, he barely gave his supporters an anxious moment, forging clear in the closing stages to win by the same margin as he had in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle two years earlier. Back again for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2019, Altior had to work a little harder on unfavourable soft ground, but eventually held off Politologue by 1¾ lengths to win at the Cheltenham Festival for the fourth consecutive year.