Altior: unbeaten in 16 starts over obstacles

Matt Cardy

Superstar chaser Altior has won all 16 starts over obstacles and his unbeaten record stretches back to April 2015, when he lost in a red-hot Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown festival. Only seven horses have finished in front of Altior during his 19-race career – here is what his conquerors have gone on to achieve . . .

Listed bumper, Newbury, February 7, 2015
Altior: finished third of 11

Winner: Barters Hill

Barters Hill notched an impressive winning sequence of his own with this defeat of Altior part of a seven-race unbeaten run. The highlight of the sequence was a 12-length victory over Politologue in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle.

His winning streak ended when finishing fourth in the 2016 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and unfortunately injury struck on his chasing debut the following season, when he was pulled up. After a lengthy absence the popular Barters Hill was unable to return to his best and was retired after pulling up in a handicap hurdle in December.

Watch Altior’s Newbury bumper here

Second: Buveur D’Air

It’s remarkable to think Nicky Henderson ran a horse who would go on to win at least two Champion Hurdles as well as an all-time chasing great in a Listed bumper, yet failed to win! 

On his first start for Henderson, Buveur D’Air finished two and a half lengths ahead of stablemate Altior and has gone on to enjoy an extraordinary career of his own, winning 13 times, including two Champion Hurdles.

Altior did get his own back in 2016, however, when winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Buveur D’Air finishing third.

Buveur D’Air (near side) won last year’s Champion Hurdle

Mark Cranham

Grade 1 bumper, Punchestown, 29 April, 2015
Altior: finished sixth of 13

First: Bellshill

Belshill has developed into a high-class chaser and has won eight times in 15 runs over obstacles, including the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup last season.

Second: Disko

Disko showed his class when winning two Grade 1s during an excellent novice chase campaign in 2016-17, but he tragically suffered a fatal fall in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last month. 

Bellshill (left) clearing the final fence under David Mullins to win the Punchestown Gold Cup

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Third: Modus

After his Punchestown third for trainer Robert Stephens, Modus moved to Ditcheat and has won seven times for Paul Nicholls, most recently in a handicap chase at Cheltenham last October.

The nine-year-old’s career highlight came when beating two rivals in the Grade 2 Rising Stars Novice Chase at Wincanton in October 2017.

Watch Altior’s Punchestown bumper here

Fourth: Charbel

Now trained by Kim Bailey, Charbel has developed into a smart chaser and won the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon this season.

The eight-year-old has clashed with Altior on five occasions, most recently when falling in last year’s Champion Chase.

Fifth: Pylonthepressure

Pylonthepressure has not yet reached the heights of those who finished in front of him in 2015, but, even so, he made it to last year’s Cheltenham Festival and finished fifth in the four-miler behind Rathvinden.

Total Grade 1s won over obstacles

Buveur D’Air
Barters Hill
Bellshill 3 
Modus 0
Charbel 0
Pylonthepressure 0

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