Altior Favourite to Win King George VI Chase


Altior is the current superstar of British National Hunt horse racing and trainer Nicky Henderson is hoping that his stable hero can continue to provide racegoers with moments of magic for the forthcoming season.

The nine-year-old boasts an incredible unbeaten record which stretches over nineteen races, with the horse having won the past two renewals of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Previously to this, the Henderson hero has won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and also the Arkle Challenge Trophy, although it’s expected that Altior will now be tried over a longer distance and connections are confident that their runner can be very competitive over three miles.

Up to now, Altior has dominated the two mile division and the prospect of the horse running over three miles is a tantalising one, with this pitching him in direct competition with other King George VI Chase contenders as well as Cheltenham Gold Cup runners.

Henderson has reported that Altior has recently undergone a breathing operation ahead of the new National Hunt season starting in earnest, with the horse currently trading at 7/2 with bet365 to win the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day although it’s likely he will be seen at a racetrack well before then.

Altior ran five times in total last season and it appears that jump racing’s record-holder could line up in the 1965 Chase at Ascot on November 23, with this proving a good test of the horse’s stamina before a potential tilt at the King George.

At the time of writing, Altior is not the highest-rated horse in the UK, with Kemboy currently topping the list at 177lbs and then comes Cyrname who is 1lb better off than the Henderson horse and there’s the possibility that the two could battle it out at Ascot.

Trainer Henderson said: "All the horses are back in the yard after their summer breaks and everything is well; they're looking great.

"We have just recauterised Altior's palate for no other reason than precaution. It was done two weeks ago.

"We've all got ideas where he'll go, but we haven't sat down and discussed it. It's an important and very big decision, whether we abandon the Tingle Creek and possibly go to Ascot for the 1965 Chase with a view to the King George.

"If you're going for the King George, I think you have to go to Ascot. That's the place you have to go to find out if he stays at all."

If everything goes to plan and Altior comes out of the King George unscathed, then we can take it as red that the plan will then be the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March where the horse will be bidding to win at the Festival for the fifth successive occasion.

Altior is currently trading at 16/1 to win the Gold Cup next year, with the bookmakers expecting the horse to potentially be kept over two miles and that explains the 4/1 quote about the Champion Chase.

Perhaps Henderson might go halfway house and refer his horse to the Ryanair Chase over two miles and four furlongs, with all options open as we head to the start of the National Hunt season.