1965 Chase Tips: Awesome Altior to down Cyrname at Ascot

Champion Chaser Altior is set for a mammoth clash with Cyrname in the 1965 Chase on Saturday.
Champion Chaser Altior is set for a mammoth clash with Cyrname in the 1965 Chase on Saturday.

Sean Raymond previews the Grade Two 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday, which could be headlined by a huge clash between Altior and Cyrname...

Like any sport, horse racing is about big match-ups and rivalries.

Whether it be Liverpool v Man City in football or Roger Federer v Rafa Nadal in tennis, it is those crunch clashes between the best that ensures sport continues to attract the attention of the world.

Racing fans will be hoping for exactly that this weekend as we get set to potentially enjoy one of the most exciting clashes in recent memory as Altior and Cyrname head to Ascot to contest the Christy 1965 Chase. The best jumps horse in training taking on the highest rated chaser in the sport is now just matter of days away and provided both are declared later in the week, it should be a dust-up to savour.

The Berkshire venue is the perfect site for any sporting tussle and the stands are sure to be packed to see the two heavyweights of the equine world take each other on over the two mile and five furlong trip.

Altior goes into the race as the superstar of the sport thanks to 19 wins on the bounce, including the last two renewals of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and widely considered to be one of the best animals of his generation. The Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old has dominated the sport over two miles in the last few years with the High Chaparral gelding proving unbeatable against all-comers,

Connections have long flirted with a step-up in trip and that time now appears to be here as the horse heads to Ascot this weekend with a crack at the three mile King George on Boxing Day also reportedly set to be on the agenda. The main strength in the arsenal of Altior is his power in the final furlong or two and there is no reason to believe he will struggle with the extra trip on offer based on his performances in recent times.

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The vibes from Seven Barrows are positive about Altior and why wouldn't they be considering what the horse has achieved during his unbeaten run over fences.

There will however be nerves from connections as they head to Ascot to take on a course specialist in Cyrname who is the highest rated chaser in the country according to the BHA. The Paul Nicholls-trained star recorded the mind-blowing mark of 176 in his Ascot Chase success over course and distance back in February which is one pound higher than his big rival.

A 19-length demolition of Waiting Patiently gave the handicapper little choice but to award that lofty mark and this weekend will be the first chance for us to judge Cyrname to assess if that was a one-off display or the real deal.

Unlike Altior, Cyrname has no stamina doubts or course worries with his two wins in Berkshire the best displays of his career by some distance. 

The negative for Cyrname is that aside from that remarkable win last season, his CV is barely above average. The Ditcheat star was no more than a 150 rated animal this time last season who was unable to compete in a handicap off that exact mark over two miles and one furlong and while he has clearly improved significantly, can he really take down one of the best horses we have seen in the last decade?

Altior, on the other hand, has been keeping top company for almost his entire career with countless Grade One wins on his CV, including a Clarence House Chase success at Ascot, albeit when jumping out to his left on occasion that day.

Top Notch adds an intriguing third bow to the race on Saturday should he be declared with the popular chaser a multiple Grade Two winner who sets a rock solid standard in any race and will be on hand to mop up the pieces should either of the top to in the market fail to fire.

There are those people that believe the Ascot form of Cyrname could see him beat Altior this weekend but none of those people are here today!

Altior has proven to be as versatile as he is brilliant during his career with no tactic good enough to lower his colours at the very highest level. The finishing power of the current champion chaser is without peer and provided he is fit and well, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where he is beaten this weekend, even by a horse as good as Cyrname. Paul Nicholls will have his charge at 100% for this assignment but even taking that into account he is difficult to fancy when it comes to taking on a horse in Altior who is already a great of the sport and could be on the verge of equine immortality.

1965 Chase
Altior silk


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