Daily News


19-July-2018 10:06
in General
by Admin

The Mighty Altior, arguably the best horse in training at the moment and I think fair to say, the undisputed king of Seven Barrows, which given the treasure trove of jewels in Nicky Henderson's stable is some accolade.

His season is one which has been dominated by the weather in truth, the horrendous deep ground which has pervaded over the season has kept Altior of the track more than he should have been. Just Three runs this season compared to the six the season before. However much we feel denied by that, the three runs he did put up were, in there own unique way, mesmerising.

We had to wait until February and the well worn traditional path to the Champion Chase in the form of the Game Spirit to see him strut his stuff at Newbury. What makes Altior stand out against the Champion Chasers of recent years is this remarkable ability not on only to travel well and strongly through every type of pace thrown at him but to also be able to quicken instantaneously when his Jockey asked him to go. Its breathtaking to watch on the TV but for those of us lucky enough to be on course when he works his magic, you get an even greater appreciation of this remarkable equine Athlete.

Such was the case when Politologue dared to Challenge him. The turn of foot in less than ideal ground was breathtaking and one sensed at that point that everyone else was running for second place at the festival.

The Victory in the Queen Mother was achieved in much the same manor, looking briefly in trouble three out coming down the hill, he was gathered in by his jockey and once asked to go and settle the race it was again over in a matter of strides as that wonderful turn of foot revealed itself again and he powered up the hill to glory in a manor which befits a true champion.

Sandown Yesterday was the icing on the cake, shrewdly placed here by the master trainer rather than taking in Aintree, the result was never in doubt as yet again when asked, he powered away from his field .

We can spend a lot of time eulogising over this seasons victories and quite rightly, to all seasoned National Hunt Fans, these races and the manor in which they were won, will live long in the memory. But what about the future ? whats in store for Altior next season ?

I have two thoughts on this subject.

The first is that he will have a serious challenge from the Mullins yard next season. Footpad is casting a long shadow over the Irish sea with his performances in the novice division, non more so than that in the Arkle.

Ive never been a great believer in times on the clock in the National Hunt scene for various reasons but the clock boys were positively salivating that day and you have to say his running style and the way he finishes off his races, he will at the very least pose a serious threat to Altior.

He is yet to come up against a horse that can power away from a field on a track with an uphill finish like Altior can and a clash at next years festival could produce a build up to a race to equal Kauto v Denman all those years ago. A race for the ages is a definite possibility.

My second thought is interesting. Nobody will understand or know Altior better than his immediate connections and they may just look at Footpad as a more than serious contender. If thats the case, and Mick Fitzgerald alluded to this on ITV yesterday morning, Altior’s running style leaves him open to success at various trips and Mick even suggested that the 3 miles round Kempton at Christmas in the king George wouldn’t beyond him. Although Might Bite will have something to say on that front and his presence in the stable may force connections to stay at two miles, but there is no doubt Altior has the scope to step up in trip to at least two and a half miles.

Nicky Henderson will know whats best for the horse and the initial moves and entries will give us a great insight into his thinking next season. Had footpad not been looming Altior could undoubtably go on to emulate the greats of the division and win three on bounce and he may well do so but as with all these things at the end of a season, only time will tell.

Personally and speaking as a fan and lover of the sport I hope and pray that they both stick to the two mile route and we see a race for the ages

Pete Ingram
aka National Hunt Pete
@BumperToJumper twitter 

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