9 things you might not know about Cheltenham Champion Chase hero Altior

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  • Yesterday (13 March), nine-year-old Altior, owned by Patricia Pugh and trained by Nicky Henderson, equalled the world record for 18 successive jump race wins when taking his second Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Here we find out a little bit more about this impressive National Hunt star who has now amassed £1,149,326 in prize money...

    1. Altior’s 18 successive wins are a jumps world record — shared with four-time Stayers’ Hurdle winner Big Buck’s. But Altior’s wins have come over both hurdles and fences, and he has never been beaten over obstacles.

    2. He windsucks. “It’s a bad habit,” says trainer Nicky Henderson, “but we can live that.”

    3. Nicky knew he was special right from day one.

    “He was hugely talented very early on,” says Nicky. “Even from his very first piece of work, I knew.”

    4. This was his fourth Festival win in a row: two Champion Chases, the Arkle and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The latter is regarded by many as one of his classiest wins — he beat his great Irish rival Min, future dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air and another Festival winner, Supasundae.

    5. He has a great attitude to life. Nicky describes him as “very easy to have around”. “He likes everything — eating, drinking and galloping.”

    6. His winning margin in the Champion Chase was his narrowest since going over fences — just 1¾ lengths. He has recorded huge winning margins in the past — including 63 lengths on his first start over fences.

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    7. The last time he did not start as favourite was for the Supreme Novices’ back in 2016. Since then he’s never been longer than evens.

    8. He has a two-year-older full brother, Cestus (High Chaparral x Monte Solaro), who had just the one run, finishing second in a bumper.

    9. Nicky is contemplating stepping his star up to 2½ miles, or even three, with a run in the 3m King George looking like a possible aim for next season.

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, and don’t miss the full report from the Cheltenham Festival in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 21 March 2019. Plus, don’t miss the current issue (dated 14 March), which features an exclusive interview with Nicky Henderson

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