Seventeen races, seventeen wins - Andy Stephens reflects on how an opportunity to make a fortune has passed us by.
If only. Two small words that feature in the vocabulary of all punters.
Even with the all-conquering Altior, they are still applicable.
Nicky Henderson's star is one of those rare beasts in the betting jungle. Seventeen runs over jumps have yielded seventeen wins. You cannot say fairer than that.
If only we had anticipated it.
If only we had placed a £20 win bet on Altior when he made his hurdling debut in the autumn of 2015 and then vowed to play up any winnings every time he subsequently ran.
Assuming you had held your nerve (and found a bookmaker willing to take your bet) then the initial £20 would have by now grown to £52,760.
No doubt it would have been more, too, had you snaffled the odd early price along the way, rather than taken SP.
Below is how Altior would have effectively given you licence to print your own money – and put you in a position to have a £50,000-£20,000 punt on him retaining his crown against eight rivals in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.
October 10: Altior makes his hurdling bow at Chepstow and waltzes home by 34 lengths.
BET: £20 win at 5-6 returns £36.67
October 31: Follows up against eight rivals at Ascot.
BET: £36.67 at 4-5 returns £66.01
November 15: Digs deep to win by half a length at Cheltenham.
BET: £66.01 at 2-1 returns £198.03
December 26: Romps home by 13 lengths at Kempton.
BET: £198.03 at 11-8 returns £470.32
March 15: Surges to a seven-length win over Min in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Buveur D’Air is third and the also-rans include Supasundae and Bellshill.
BET: £470.32 at 4-1 returns £2351.60
November 21: makes his chasing debut at Kempton and beats sole rival Black Corton by 63 lengths.
BET: £2351.60 at 2-13 returns £2713.38
December 3: Wins the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase by six lengths from Charbel.
BET: £2713.38 at 2-7 returns £3488.63
December 27: Similar to Kempton the previous year – wins easily by 18 lengths. See Nicky Henderson's interview above.
BET: £3488.63 at 1-9 returns £3876.26.
February 11: Beats older and more experienced rivals in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury after being heavily backed. Beats Fox Norton by 13 lengths.
BET: £3876.26 at 30-100 returns £5039.14
March 14: Workmanlike in winning the Arkle at Cheltenham by six lengths.
BET: £5039.14 at 1-4 returns £6298.93
April 29: Exhibition stuff in the Celebration Chase at Sandown as he beats Special Tiara by eight lengths.
BET: £6298.93 at 30-100 returns £8188.61
February 10: Absent for 287 days and returning from wind surgery, he is again well backed and beats Politologue to land a second Game Spirit.
BET: £8188.61 at 1-3 returns £10,918.15
March 14: Stays on strongly to beat Min by seven lengths in the Champion Chase at cheltenham after trading at more than 7-1 in-running.
BET: £10,918.15 at Evens returns £21,836.30
April 28: Again stays on strongly to land a second Celebration Chase.
BET: £21,836.30 at 2-11 returns £25,806.54
December 6: Making his seasonal return after 224 days off, he masters Un De Sceaux by four lengths in the Tingle Creek back at Sandown.
BET: £25,806.54 at 8-13 returns £41,687.49
December 27: Easy pickings at Kempton as he wins by 19 lengths.
Bet: £41,687.49 at 1-8 returns £46,898.43
January 19: An eighth Grade One success as he beats Fox Norton by seven lengths easing up in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
BET: £46,898.43 at 1-10 returns £52,760.73
March 13: Defends his Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham. What happens next? Bet of £52,760.73 pending.