NICKY Henderson played down Altior’s left-handed champion after the superstar steeplechaser stretched his unbeaten sequence to 17 with a smooth victory in the Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
Victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March will see Nico de Boinville’s top two-miler equal the modern-day record for consecutive wins set by Big Buck’s.
“It’s the sort of thing you see horses do around here,” said Henderson after Altior sauntered to this victory over his two rivals. “He doesn’t need to go left, but we know he’s so much better at Cheltenham. Yes, he did drift left. But it’s not his natural thing – he’ll be going left (handed at Cheltenham) next time.”
Altior is the latest in a series of outstanding horses to have scaled the heights for Henderson. He added: “All I can say – you’re very lucky little boys if you can have one horse as good as Sprinter (Sacre), because they only come round once in a lifetime. Within six months of him going, this new thing appeared. Nobody can be as lucky as we are to have experienced two horses like that.”
l Middleham trainer Julia Brooke and her younger son and assistant Danny recorded a double at Ayr when Fiddlers Bow and Emma Beag won. They were both ridden by the trainer’s elder son Henry, one of the North’s top jump jockeys.