Nicky Henderson announces retirement of dual Champion Chase winner Altior
Nicky Henderson has confirmed that the great Altior has been retired.
The 11-year-old, who last appeared in the Bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown in April, has had a stellar career and is regarded as one of the best ever to grace the sport.
Altior has been successful on four occasions at the Cheltenham Festival, which included back-to-back victories in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2018 and 2019.
The Seven Barrows handler announced via his Unibet blog that Altior will be retiring and will move to join former jockey Mick Fitzgerald and his family in retirement.
Speaking on his blog, the trainer said: "His breakthrough was probably the Supreme, although he achieved much of his greatness over fences and it was pretty much expected of him to win all the races he did which sort of puts a fair amount of pressure on all of us but we certainly enjoyed celebrating his wins, of which we are lucky there were so many.
"It’s a very tough decision to make, but I am pretty sure he has enjoyed every moment of it as much as we all have. He goes out unblemished and very nearly unbeaten, and for his retirement he is going to be looked after by Mick and Chloe Fitzgerald and I know they are as happy as we are that he is going to have a long and happy retirement with them just two miles down the road from us.
"There is no doubt you will all see him again at our open day and I’m sure he will be on parade at Cheltenham but Mick and his family will keep him entertained and busy and most of all happy which is what we all want.
"All good things must come to an end and unfortunately that time has come. It is the end of a wonderful era we will never, ever want to forget."
Altior's first appearance came in May 2014, when he won a National Hunt race at Market Rasen under Nico De Boinville.
In October 2015, the phenomenon began a remarkable run of 19 successive victories, which spanned across four years.
That run included a memorable win in the Sky Bet Supreme at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and victory in the Arkle a year later.
Altior's final run saw him finish behind Greaneteen in the Celebration Chase, while his last victory came in the Game Spirit at Newbury in February 2020.
On the Unibet blog, Patricia and Christopher Pugh (owners of Altior) added: “Altior is a once in a generation horse and Chris and I are so fortunate to have been a part of his life since 2013.
"We thank the brilliant team at Seven Barrows, the genius Nicky Henderson and of course all the wonderful race goers who have supported Altior throughout his career.
"We could not wish for a better place for Altior’s retirement than a home with Mick and Chloe Fitzgerald."