ALTIOR, the horse who never lets his backers down over jumps, extended his winning streak to a record-equalling 18 races at Cheltenham on Wednesday with a second consecutive success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and he did so with the unshakeable will to win that marks out the Festival’s greats.
The water jump, oddly, was the only obstacle at which Altior made a serious mistake, but the tacky, drying ground after heavy rain on Tuesday took the edge off his familiar finishing surge to the line. Having set off at long odds-on at 4-11, he briefly touched even money in-running on the Betfair betting exchange approaching the last fence, where Sceau Royal jumped into the lead with Politologue in close attendance.
Altior, though, had never yielded before on the uphill climb to the line and was not about to do so now. Nico de Boinville, his jockey, urged him back into the lead and Altior then stayed on well to assert finally his superiority in the closing strides and beat Politologue by one-and-three-quarter lengths with Sceau Royal the same distance away in third.
“Altior is an absolute warrior,” De Boinville said. “We had a bit of a miscommunication at the water, when he wanted to go long and I wanted him to pop it and not waste too much energy [and] we definitely went half-a-length down after the last but he just seemed to find this extra gear.
“I don’t know where it comes from, he is just a phenomenal athlete. He doesn’t know how to lose at the moment and long may it continue.”