Altior Powers Home in Thrilling Tingle Creek
Altior was the king of Sandown Park on Saturday afternoon when he powered home to win the Tingle Creek Chase. The conditions were tough, with heavy rain before and during the race turning the ground very soft, and that played into the hands of Altior and his main market rival Un De Sceaux. Saint Calvados struggled to go in the ground from the front, while Sceau Royal had his speed blunted by the conditions, this was a race that went completely against him on the day.
With two fences to go we have the match that many people wanted, Altior and Un De Sceaux were side by side and the race was set up perfectly. However, when they both jumped the final fence, although Un De Sceaux was brave and gave it his all, he was unable to match the power shown by his younger rival, and he had to give way into second place.
This was a thriller at Sandown, and a reminder to anyone whoever doubted him, that Altior is truly one of the greatest horses we have seen over two miles. After the race, Nicky Henderson confirmed that it is highly likely that his horse will swerve the King George at Kempton, and stick to two miles. Henderson said he would love to have a go at the race, but as soon as he saw how tough the going was at Sandown, he felt it would be a risk running so soon again. The King George takes place on Boxing Day, and the trip is a mile further, after a run on very soft ground it is too much to risk with such a horse.
Although it was his first run of the season on Saturday, we saw the brilliant Altior close to his best. He needed to be, given the field he was up against, and it is going to take an exceptionally good performance to knock him off the two mile chasing perch. This is an incredibly talented animal, and whether we have good ground or a slog like we did on Saturday, this horse looks unstoppable.