Nicky Henderson's superstar 9-year-old Altior [1/6] led all the way under Nico de Boinville to take the Bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown this afternoon, in doing so cementing himself in jumps racing history.
The gelding's 2 and a half-length victory over Alan King's Sceau Royale [10/3] extended his unbeaten record to 19 races, finally smashing the record held by Paul Nicholl's four-time Cheltenham World Hurdle champion Big Bucks.
Altior you rocket 😲🚀 https://t.co/3534eaaCzv
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) April 27, 2019
Almost poetic, too, that the son of High Chapparal broke the record four years to the week on from last tasting defeat at the Punchestown Festival when coming in behind Bellshill.
Trainer Henderson feels the next step for 175-rated genius is a punt over the longer distances.
He told us one thing today – go further, so that is what we will do. There is not much point doing it for the Ryanair, so you have got to go King George.
How we set it up, I’m not quite sure, but we’ve got a long summer to think about that. Nico said he had to keep the revs up the whole way there. He was firing along and going a good old rattle.
His jumping keeps him going like that. He just keeps galloping.
Nico said he is not quite as quick as he was, but I think that has been coming for the last year, so that’s fine – now is the time to do what you all have been telling me to do for two years!
Jockey de Boinville, who has sat for each of the 19 run spin said that while it was "good to get the record", that the horse "didn't travel as [he'd] like".
It looks like the two-miler will now be aimed at further with perhaps a tilt at the end of year King George being his next target.