The Paul Nichols trained and highest rated chaser in the country Cyrname, confirmed his position at the top of the tree when bringing Altior’s sensational run of nineteen consecutive triumphs to an end at Ascot on Saturday with a 2 1/4 length defeat. However, there is one huge difference between the two superstars which enabled Cyrname to come out on top.
The Pre Lims notes
The pre-race examination of the pair was in favour of Cyrname who looked the fitter and race-ready animal of the two.
How They Jumped
Cyrname – The Buveur D’Air of Fences
The winner jumped impeccably over-all with only two ground-losing errors at his fences. But its the manner in the way he is able to jump fences, especially the stiff fences at Ascot that set him apart from Altior on Saturday.
He is low and fast creating a very economical way about negotiating each fence. This enables Cyrname to gain lengths at his fences and put in impressive time figure’s. He wastes little ground and continues to build momentum at each obstacle putting the jumping of his rival under pressure. Sounds simple enough, but there are not many chaser’s who can meet nearly every fence on a stride and be as low, quick and economical over them as he is. He rates very similar to that of Buveur D’Air who has a very similar technique over the smaller obstacles.
Altior – Technique
Altior jumped slightly left throughout the race but that did not lose him as much ground as many people first thought it would. He did, however, make seven ground-losing errors. Again, similar to that of his rival it has come down to the way he jumped his fences and his technique of big bold and slow jumps over most of his obstacles on this occasion just wasn’t going to wash against one who was so economical and a proven stayer of this new trip.
Altior lost at least 3/4 of a length at 7 of the 17 fences over the trip a total of 5.25 lengths. The majority of his errors unsurprisingly came towards the latter part of the race notably at fences 14, 15 and 16 suggesting that he was starting to tire two fences into uncharted territory.
Did Altior Stay the trip?
I’m in no doubt that Altior certainly stayed the trip. He closed in on the winner inside the final furlong and considering he made seven ground losing errors at his fences he did remarkably well to get within 2 1/4 lengths of the winner. If he was non-stayer he would have been beaten much further on this occasion due to his ground losing errors and considering he was niggled along with six fences still to jump there can be no arguments about that at all.
What is Altior’s optimum trip?
If we compare his jumping technique over two miles (Kempton Desert Orchid Chase December 2018) we are almost looking at a different horse over this trip. Altior at Kempton was much more economical, low and fast making only one bold over-exuberant jump in the earlier stages of that particular race. Where over this 2m5f he used up too much energy at his fences which leaves him vulnerable inside the final furlong where he would be at his strongest over the shorter trip. But having said that, he is certainly worth another try over the longer distance before coming back down in trip if things don’t work out. You don’t get that close to a rival of Cyrname’s quality making the amount of ground losing errors Altior did without being top class!
While Altior has a sizeable engine it’s also his tactical weapon at the finish over a fast run 2m. The pace may not be strong enough over 2m5f- 3m for him to be able to curb his enthusiastic style of jumping and while he will likely pick up races over that distance it’s hard to see him being the outstanding chaser we have come to love over 2m.
Both are outstanding chaser’s but Cyrname’s jumping has proved the difference between the pair. Altior’s performance can be upgraded on this occasion.