It’s on! Altior versus Cyrname is the match-up that all jumps fans have wanted to see for a long time now and it looks like we’re ready to rumble in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday 14.05.
Ever since Altior’s trainer Nicky Henderson indicated he would step his super-star up in trip this season, we’ve all been waiting for this clash with Paul Nicholls’ runner.
Cyrname could be an exceptional racehorse in time and looked awesome at this track last February, but he hasn’t achieved anything like Altior has so far.
If I had a chance to ride either – I’d chose Altior all day long to record his 20th win on the bounce.
That’s based on what Nicky Henderson star chaser has achieved in his career, rather than the potential the seven-year-old Cyrname may still have.
Altior is just a brilliant, brilliant racehorse.
Although Cyrname is 1lb higher in the ratings, the way this contest could unfold should suit him down to a tee. If I was Nico de Boinville I’d be looking forward to this. His mount is getting a step up in trip to 2m 5f and will more than likely get a lead off his front-running rival, who also happens to be the main danger.
It’s the perfect scenario for a jockey as he’ll have something to aim for all through the race.
What’s not to love?
I look at it this way. Form is form. If you take a line through Min for example, he was breath-taking at Aintree last April but every time he’s run into Altior, we know what the result was.
Min did to those horses at Aintree what Cyrname did to them at Ascot last February. But every time Min and Altior met – Altior beat him!
When you look back at Altior’s career, he’s had to do what Big Bucks used to do and make his own running. Altior is not a leader by nature – he’s a follower but when you give him a lead, he’s even better.
Big Bucks was the same. Trainers and jockeys got wise to him and stopped giving him a handy lead – but he still managed to win. They stopped giving Altior a lead too, but he still managed to win.
There may only be four runners in Saturday’s 3m Betfair Chase at Haydock 15.00 but it’s an intriguing contest. It looks a match also between course specialist and dual winner Bristol De Mai and what connections are hoping is their new kid on the block, Lostintranslation.
The Ryanair Chase winner Frodon steps up to 3m, so it’s going to be a different test for him and Bryony Frost. He should enjoy Haydock’s galloping track, while Bristol De Mai’s stablemate Ballyoptic makes up the quartet.
If Losintranslation is going to be the horse that Colin Tizzard and jockey Robbie Power think he can be – he’ll really need to serve it up to Bristol De Mai on Saturday.
He’s had a run – and a win – under his belt at Carlisle already this season. He should be fighting fit for his biggest test to date on Saturday, if he wants to reach Cheltenham Gold Cup standard.
*Prices and declarations correct at time of publishing