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ALTIOR AWESOME AT NEWBURY

13 February 2017

Some of the camera angles from Newbury on Saturday illustrated the brilliance of ALTIOR (IRE) as he bounded away spring-heeled with the Grade 2 Betfair Exchange Chase for his ninth win on the spin. With every leap he increasingly warmed to the task, meeting each fence with aplomb before cantering to victory unchallenged. Last year’s winner of the Supreme Novice Hurdle is certain to start at long odds-on to gain another Festival success in the Arkle Trophy next month.

ALTIOR (IRE) won the Young National Hunt Horse Award at the ITBA Awards at the end of January for his County Laois breeder, Paddy ‘The Whacker’ Behan, and is by the late High Chaparral (IRE) out of the Key Of Luck mare Monte Solaro (IRE), making him a half-brother to the multiple winners Princess Leya (IRE) and Key To The West (IRE). He sold for €60,000 at the Goffs Land Rover Sale in 2013 and to date has netted the equivalent of €225,000 in stakes. His Milan (IRE) half-sister sold as a foal at Tattersalls Ireland last year for €40,000 and his half-brother Silverhow (IRE) by Yeats (IRE) has been placed twice from five starts to date.  

Earlier on the same card at the Berkshire track, the charge by NATIVE RIVER (IRE) towards next month’s Gold Cup remained very much on course as he won the Grade 2 Denman Chase. You always know what you are going to get with this admirable chestnut: if he doesn’t lead he is going to race prominently at the very least. And when most of the opposition has cried enough, he will still be going strong, as was witnessed in the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Welsh National. His latest test on Saturday was not as taxing as the two immediately preceding, so that should aid his chances in chasing’s showpiece, for which he is ranked second-favourite to his stable companion Thistlecrack.     

NATIVE RIVER (IRE) was bred by Fred Mackey in County Down and sold by him for €6,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale in 2010. He has now accumulated the equivalent of over €450,000 in stakes.  His sire Indian River stood at Park House Stud in County Carlow and his half-brother, the smart Orpheus Valley (IRE), was a winner of the Guinness Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival in 2014.

 

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