After 19 straight wins, Altior had his winning streak ended in November at Ascot when rival Cyrname defeated him. Now, Altior’s trainer Nicky Henderson has his sights set on the Cheltenham Festival and the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the highlights of the Cheltenham Festival. Altior is the antepostfavourite to win the event and horse racing betting will be significantly high on the gelding as the race nears.
The top-rated horse was held out of an early January race at Kempton with the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the docket as a future must-run event. Henderson could send Altior out in February at the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury as a final warm-up for the Cheltenham Festival, although nothing is set in stone.
Will Altior achieve a threepeat at Cheltenham?
The Irish race horse, which has won a brilliant £1.25 million during his career, has won the Queen Mother Champion Chase the last two years. Both races saw jockey Nico de Boinville in the saddle. All eyes will be on the 10-year-old gelding after having such success between 2015 and 2019. Prior to Altior’s defeat at Ascot to Cyrname, he had undergone wind surgery, which could have been partly to blame for the loss.
Altior was initially set to run in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton in January but was scratched from the field. Henderson had spoken about the horse’s well-being in the build-up to the race causing Altior’s odds to drift significantly. Rumours swirled over Altior’s health prior to the Silviniaco Conti Chase which angered Henderson.
After being scratched from the race, the British Horseracing Authority had Altior looked at by a veterinarian that stated the horse was in good health. It is believed that one of Henderson’s stable employees may have leaked information to the media in the build-up to the Conti Chase.
Altiorfavourite to win Queen Mary Champion Chase
The Queen Mary Champion Chase will see a number of top horses compete at the Cheltenham Festival. The prize purse for 2019 was £400,000 for the race, which is the third-highest paying race at the Cheltenham Festival.
Altior is currently atop the odds board at 5/2. Depending on results in February’s Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, if Altior races, he could drift in the odds. Defi Du Seuil is 3/1 antepost to win following a win December at Sandown Park. Depending on the January result for Defi Du Seuil at the Clarence House Chase at Ascot, the second-favourite could become the favourite.
Cyrname, one of Altior’s main rivals in recent time, is 8/1 to win the Queen Mary Champion Chase. The Paul Nicolls trained eight-year-old had a three-race winning streak ended at Kempton on Boxing Day. The defeat came just over a month after ending Altior’s incredible 19-race win streak.
The 2019 Queen Mary Champion Chase second- and third-place finishers Politologue and Sceau Royal are 20/1 and 25/1 respectively to win the 2020 edition of the Cheltenham Festival race. The 2018 Queen Mary Champion Chase second-place finisher, Min, is 8/1 to win the race this year.