Unbeaten in 17 races over hurdles and fences, Altior (foaled 6th May 2010) is proving to be one of the greatest horses of his, or indeed any, generation. With wins in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2016), the Arkle (2017) and the Queen Mother Champion Chase (2018), there is no doubt that this Nicky Henderson-trained wonder-horse loves the Cheltenham Festival. But can he defend his Champion Chase crown in 2019?
Given that he’s odds-on to do just that, what betting offers will there be when betting on Altior to win the Queen Mother? Here we bring you the best Altior offers for Cheltenham, including some great enhanced odds offers. We also give the lowdown on Altior’s chances of defending his title at the Festival in 2019.
Altior Cheltenham Offers 2019
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Awesome Altior Unstoppable In Champion Chase Defence?
There will no doubt be a few perceived good things at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, but surely no favourite will be so hot as Nicky Henderson’s defending Queen Mother Champion Chase winner, Altior.
We didn’t learn much we didn’t already know in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot at the weekend, as Altior made it seventeen on the spin over obstacles when delivering the expected heavy beating to a clearly inferior Diego Du Charmil and a horse in Fox Norton, who was having his first run in 389 days.
What that success did mean though is that Altior has now won all three of the most recognised trials for this race; racking up a total winning distance of 30 lengths across the Tingle Creek Chase, Desert Orchid Chase and Clarence House Chase.
But how accurate a pointer are those trials when it comes to success on the big day itself? The table below lists the 10 most recent winners of the Queen Mother, along with the key trials they won in the build up to the race.
|Year||Winner||Key Trials Won|
|2009||Master Minded||Clarence House & Tingle Creek|
|2012||Finian’s Rainbow||Desert Orchid|
|2013||Sprinter Sacre||Clarence House & Tingle Creek|
|2014||Sire De Grugy||Clarence House, Tingle Creek & Desert Orchid|
|2015||Dodging Bullets||Clarence House & Tingle Creek|
|2016||Sprinter Sacre||Desert Orchid|
|2017||Special Tiara||Desert Orchid|
So will Altior win the 2019 Champion Chase?
As we can see all bar three of the past 10 winners had come home in front in at least one of the aforementioned trials prior to their Champion Chase success. Discounting Altior last season, with the horse enduring something of an interrupted preparation for the race due to a wind op, the only two winners not to have won one of the mentioned trials have hailed from Ireland. That would suggest that if there is a threat to Altior’s crown, it is most likely to be a runner from the Emerald Isle. But are any of them up to the task?
Footpad would look to be the obvious one if judged solely on his 14 length rout in the Arkle Chase here last season. He is yet to lock horns with Altior, but having fallen on his seasonal return and been beaten by the eleven year old Simply Ned last time out, he has questions to answer and even at his best has around 9lbs to find with Altior on the ratings.
Another of the Willie Mullins runners, Min, does at least have a good win to his name this season having come home in front in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. The Rich Ricci runner has had two cracks at Altior now though and been beaten by seven lengths each time; firstly in the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and latterly in this race last year. There doesn’t appear to be any good reason for him to turn the form around.
Un De Sceaux is a grand old warrior, but at eleven years old now does he have the pace to trouble the jolly? The evidence of their clash in the Tingle Creek earlier this season would suggest not, with Altior putting Un De Sceaux to the sword coming up the straight to score by four lengths.
Overall it would be a brave man to bet against Altior at this year’s Festival. The ratings say he should win, he boasts rock solid credentials on the trends having landed all three of the key trials, and with question marks against the opposition it would be something of a surprise to see him turned over. 4/7 with Betfair is the best price available, and whilst that may sound skinny, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him start nearer the 1/4 mark on the day.