Andy Stewart feeling bubbly as Altior closes in on Big Buck’s win sequence

Sun 6 Jan 2019

Owner Andy Stewart has promised to send a congratulatory case of champagne to connections of Altior should he break the record of 18 consecutive victories set by his own superstar, Big Buck’s.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s – best known for winning the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in four successive years – became the first jumps horse in history to win 17 races on the spin when landing his fourth Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in 2012.

That triumph took him past Sir Ken’s tally of 16 races over hurdles in the 1950s, and he added an 18th later that year when securing a fourth Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Big Buck's was a superstar for Andy Stewart and Paul Nicholls
Big Buck's was a superstar for Andy Stewart and Paul Nicholls

Following a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the legendary staying hurdler was beaten in the Cleeve Hurdle and the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2014 before being retired.

His record still stands for now, but Nicky Henderson’s Altior is rapidly closing him down and stretched his unbeaten record over fences to 11 – and notched his 16 successive win overall – with another spectacular display in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over the festive period.

Stewart said: “He was very impressive the other day, and I have to say I think he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever seen.”

With the Clarence House at Ascot his apparent next port of call, Altior could then potentially match Big Buck’s if successfully defending his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.

Altior extended his winning sequence to 16 at Kempton last month

Stewart would be happy too to see him go one better before the season is out, should he head to either Punchestown or Sandown in the spring.

He added: “I should think it will be a long time before he gets beaten – and if he does beat the Big Buck’s record, the first thing I’ll do is send a case of champagne to Nicky Henderson to pass on to the owners.

“I’ll be delighted for them if he does it.”

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