Altior has been arguably the most dominant horse in the National Hunt over the last four seasons. The bay gelding has won his last 17 races, including four at Cheltenham Festival. Nicky Henderson’s charge will be aiming to make it five on the bounce when he competes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second time.
There are few horses that can produce like clockwork but the nine-year-old has become a home banker for bettors due to his outstanding performances on the track. Given Altior’s dominance, finding the best value for the bay gelding can be difficult, therefore, it can be helpful to utilise bookmakers’ offers for Cheltenham odds. Bet365 are among the bookies that offer good value even for the Irish horse, backing him at 4/11 to take the crown for the second year in a row.
Unless something drastic were to occur outside of an injury to Altior – his value will not be affected. However, Bet365 do offer a non-runner selection which would void punts should, for some reason, Henderson opt to withdraw his charge from Cheltenham Festival. The nine-year-old is one of the most consistent horses in the sport – not only in his performances but also his fitness, therefore, there is little doubt that he should be raring to go for the action in March.
After his comfortable triumph in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the 2018 meet, the Irish horse ended his 2017/18 National Hunt campaign with a strong performance at the Celebration Chase. He was not flawless with De Boinville in the saddle, although he managed to up the ante when it mattered the most to surge into the lead before closing out the win by three-and-a-half lengths at Sandown Park.
Altior returned to the same venue for the Tingle Creek Chase at the start of the new season at the beginning of December. He was once again the overwhelming favourite for the win and did not disappoint. Henderson’s charge made a slight mistake at the second fence but recovered quickly to regain his stride and move into second. Altior’s pace down the stretch took him away from Un De Sceaux to claim the victory by four lengths.
At Kempton Park over the Festive Period, the nine-year-old lined up his first attempt at the Desert Orchid Chase and was outstanding on the track. He jumped with ease and found his rhythm to establish the lead and he was unrelenting with his pace, cantering away from the rest of the field to triumph with ease.
The Irish horse warmed up for Cheltenham at the Clarence House Chase and, although he was faced with a solid competitor in the form of Fox Norton, it did nothing to deter him from his 17th win in a row, using his pace to run clear of his challenger to notch the victory. It will take something special to stop Henderson’s charge at Cheltenham Festival – the nine-year-old is well on his way to being known as one of the all-time greats.