Black-Eyed Susan Day
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The stunning spectacle that is the Cheltenham festival has finally arrived and the talent on show is as good as ever. One horse that has been out for the majority of the season but returned at the high of his powers is Altior. The Henderson trained 8 year old is set to be another short priced favourite at the meeting and is without a doubt the best chaser in training currently. Altior went moderately under the radar coming in to the 2016 Supreme novice hurdle but put in a stunning performance in beating both stablemate and reigning Champion hurdler Buveur DíAir and the high class Min. He won the race by 7 lengths and in the process landing odds of 4/1. He is unlikely to go off at similar odds again in his career.
Following a 251 day break Altior returned for his first start of the 2016/17 season. This was on the 21st of November where he dispatched of the 2018 RSA bound Black Corton (who has improved dramatically since) by 63 lengths without coming off the bridle. The hype surrounding the horse had grown significantly and he put in another three stunning performances before heading to the Arkle. He was sent off at odds of 1/4 on the off and despite looking fairly workman like he pulled clear following jumping the last as is customary with the horse.
Altiorís final start of the season was against the 2017 Champion Chase winner Special Tiara at Sandown. He again put in a faultless performance to draw clear by 8 lengths to firmly establish himself as the leading light in the national hunt scene. In the process gaining a career high RPR of 177. The horse then had another lengthy break which was prolonged due to a wind problem that required surgery. Many people were questioning whether we had seen the best of the great Altior however he returned on the 10th of February and won with ease against Champion Chase rival Politologue by 4 lengths.
Altior is now the strong odds on favourite in the Champion Chase and if he again puts in a performance that we know he is capable of then surely the others are running for places. The latest Cheltenham festival 2018 odds for the race make him the 8/11 favourite. However there is still the bounce factor that could occur as a negative when looking at his chances for the race. Check out the infographic below which covers some of the highs and lows over the years of Cheltenham festival betting.
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