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Seven months and 572 horseshoes: top chaser Altior as you’ve never seen him before

Seven months ago, Ben Lee embarked on the huge task of creating a sculpture of record-breaking National Hunt horse Altior made entirely from horseshoes. And today (23 November) and some 572 horseshoes later, Ben’s masterpiece will be unveiled at Ascot Racecourse, where it will stay until March 2020.

“I decided to create an Altior sculpture as he is my favourite racehorse,” explains Ben, who started his business, BL Sculptures, in 2016. “It was a toss up between him and Tiger Roll, but I decided on Altior as he is one of a kind — I’m a big fan.”

Ben, who is based near Cricklade in The Cotswolds and competes in showjumping, didn’t go to meet Altior to help him with his creation, but instead produced his work of art with the help of one photo.

“Local farriers were very helpful in delivering me horseshoes and I’m really excited to go to Ascot tomorrow on day two of their Discover Racehorse Ownership Weekend,” says Ben, who has also included Altior’s jockey Nico de Boinville in the sculpture. “Then when March arrives, I will sell it.”

Tomorrow also a very exciting day as Altior runs in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase at 2.05pm in a bid for his 20th win on the bounce for trainer Nicky Henderson and owner Patricia Pugh. With a rating of 175 and with over £1.234m in prize money to his name, Altior faces a tough opponent in the form of the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname, as the nine-year-old steps up in trip for the first time.

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“I think it could be the biggest race of the season,” says Ben, who has created horseshoe sculptures before but the only other full-sized horse he produced was an Andalusian stallion from scrap car parts. “I can’t wait to see the race and for the grand unveiling of my sculpture shortly after the gates open.”

Gates open at Ascot Racecourse at 10.45am tomorrow.

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