Altior Will Never Win Another Grade 1, And Here’s Why

Altior wins the Celebration Chase at Sandown

It was the billed as the clash of the titans, and when they turned into the straight, it looked as though the match was on. The match, however, was already decided, as Cyrname continued to pour on the pressure, up the ante, and dismantle Altior. Our ITV Racing Tips were sweet on his chances and although they were justified over the 2m 5f, if Altior does take his chance in the King George, he’ll never take up Grade 1 honours again, and here is why!

He Won’t Stay Three Miles With The Best

It didn’t look like a case of Altior not staying on Saturday, it was simply the fact he’s not as good as Cyrname over the staying trips. There is no disgrace in that, given Paul Nicholls’ superstar’s improvement last term, where he won two races over that course and distance in facile fashion.

At a track like Kempton, on slightly better ground, it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility to suggest he could get the trip in a King George. That said, he wouldn’t get it well enough to defeat the best in the staying division. Being unable to land a glove on Cyrname at Ascot goes some way to justifying that statement, given that Nicholls’ horses have needed the run all season and Cyrname’s record fresh is quite dismal too.

Against the likes of Lostintranslation, Clan des Obeaux, Cyrname, just to name a few, he’s going to be up against it if he continues this path in the staying division.

Once You’ve Gone Further, Dropping Back Is Tough

It’s very, very rare, that you find a horse like Kauto Star. A superstar in every division, whether it’s Tingle Creek or a Gold Cup. Kauto Star is unlikely to ever be matched in that capacity and Altior may well be ruining his Grade 1 chances further down the line by continuing to try and emulate the great horse. Stepping up in distance takes plenty out of a horse and it’s very difficult to drop back thereafter and show the same amount of speed.

We already know, courtesy of last season, that Altior was struggling in the tactical speed department of the best two-mile races, and he made Nico De Boinville pull out all the stops to galvanise him into the lead of last season’s Champion Chase. If they continue this path in terms of distance, and it does go south, he’s going to struggle even more back to the two-mile distance.

The Two-Mile Division Has Been Poor Too

There is simply no way around it, the two-mile division that Altior has come up against hasn’t been the best. You can argue all you like that his victory against Min in the 2018 renewal was impressive and to some degree, yes, it was, but since then, he’s not really built on that.

He ended that season by struggling to shake off San Benedeto in the Celebration Chase and last seasons form wasn’t much better, beating Diego Du Charmil and Fox Norton on the way to the big one, where he was driven right out to beat Politologue who, barring a victory in the Tingle Creek, has never been top class over the trip.

The new blood are now coming through, with Willie Mullins’ Chancun Pour Soi looking a potential monster. Defi Du Seuil also returned with a faultless display at Cheltenham, where he beat Politologue. At his best, Altior is majestic to watch and as much as you can only beat what’s in front of you, he’s not beaten anything near the “superstar category”.

Altior will go down as one of the best of all time, and that’s not disputable, given his record over obstacles. His jumping at his best was a delight, and on his day, his turn of foot was something electric. Age catches up with us all, however, and the best of Henderson’ monster, are simply over.

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