JUMPING HEROES ALTIOR AND NATIVE RIVER TO RETURN TO NEWBURY RACECOURSE ON BETFAIR SUPER SATURDAY
Altior and Native River, two of the most popular jumpers of recent seasons, are to make special guest appearances at Newbury Racecourse on Betfair Super Saturday on 12 February.
They will be returning to the track and meeting at which they became synonymous, and enjoyed some of their most significant successes, to parade in public for the first time since their illustrious careers came to an end.
Two-time Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Altior has the unique distinction of being the only horse to win the Game Spirit Chase three times, in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
Likewise Native River, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018, is the most successful horse in the history of the Betfair Denman Chase, capturing the prize in 2017, 2018 and 2020, the same seasons as Altior. He also won the Hennessy Gold Cup and now Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in 2016.
The star horses will parade between the Betfair Denman Chase and the Game Spirit Chase, to be run this year as the Betfair Cheltenham Free Pot Builder Chase. It will be the pair’s first appearance on a racecourse since their retirements were announced late last year.
Trained by Nicky Henderson, Altior won 21 out of 26 races, which included a 19-race unbeaten streak. He scored 10 times at Grade 1 level, winning four years in a row at the Cheltenham Festival, and retired in September with winnings of £1.3 million.
His owners Patricia and Chris Pugh said: “We are delighted that Altior is returning to parade at his old stomping ground and thank Newbury Racecourse for this invitation. Altior had some seminal experiences here which were critical to his career. We would, of course, also like to thank all the fantastic racegoers for their kind words after Altior’s retirement.”
Native River, who was trained by Colin Tizzard, amassed earnings of £1.1 million during a 32-race career in which he won 14 times.
Garth Broom said: “Native River was unbeaten in five runs over fences at Newbury. The season in which he won the Ladbrokes Trophy, the Welsh National and the Betfair Denman Chase and then finished a very close third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup would be a hard to top as a season. Of course, he then went and trumped that by winning the Gold Cup the following year.
“He performed for us every season in top class races. He always raced with his heart on his sleeve. People took to him because he didn’t know how to run a bad race. He gave us so many good memories.”
Keith Ottesen, Clerk of the Course for Newbury Racecourse, said: “To have these two heroes return to Newbury on Betfair Super Saturday to parade in front of racegoers is particularly special. Our thanks go to owners, Patricia and Chris Pugh and Garth and Ann Broom for their kind permission to bring these two very special jumping legends back to the racecourse so we can give them a proper retirement send-off.
“Both horses have been synonymous with this meeting, and it feels entirely appropriate that they are paraded between their respective winning races on the day. Thanks to Chloe and Mick Fitzgerald and the Tizzard team and we look forward to welcoming them all here in just over two weeks’ time and in front of big crowd, our first at this fixture since 2020.”
The latest forfeit stage for the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle is at midday 25/01/22.