Everyone likes to argue the merits of current champions versus those from the past with many a heated argument in hostelries around the World. As Altior looks to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second time, we question whether he really is up to the same standard as some of the greats.
You can view our Cheltenham Festival tips on site now, including our thoughts on whether Altior can regain the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3:30pm!
How can you knock a horse who arrives here unbeaten over fences with twelve consecutive victories and all of them when sent off the favourite?
His five out of five record over hurdles suggested he would be a force to reckon with over fences but he has gone from promising to a revelation in no time at all and still seems to be getting better at the age of nine.
Tactically versatile, he came from off the pace to go 19 lengths clear when taking the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December but made his own running to win at Sandown in the Tingle Creek making him even more difficult to beat and surely likely to follow up with another Champion Chase in 2019.
Altior is clearly the best two-mile chaser around at present but how would he have got on against the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer and Master Minded who all won the big one twice in recent years?
If you assume the clock never lies, then the aforementioned horses clocked better times, but there is more to it than that. Altior was the only one forced to face soft ground last season so it’s no great shock that he wasn’t a record breaker.
He also has the added benefit of being some way ahead of all of his rivals in recent years, rarely needing to put it all in to come home in front and jumps his fences for fun with a small mistake in his first two starts – and not a sign of an error worth mentioning since.
An unwinnable argument! Race distances and going descriptions ae far more accurate now than they were in the past making the stopwatches of yesteryear potentially inaccurate and Altior can only beat those horses willing to face him.
His win record is certainly second to none and likely to continue on Wednesday afternoon with victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and perhaps he will finally get the recognition he deserves in front of a knowledgeable and adoring audience.
The best ever, we will let you decide but the best since Sprinter Sacre, undoubtedly so, and hopefully the best around on Wednesday afternoon.