Altior wins at Kempton to stretch winning record to 16

Nico de Boinville on Altior
Altior's last defeat was in April 2015 at the Punchestown Festival

Altior made it 16 wins out of 16 over obstacles with a comfortable victory in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Thursday.

The 1-8 favourite was never troubled and took the lead under Nico de Boinville on the approach to the second-last.

Although he was slightly scruffy at that fence, he powered away after.

The eight-year-old remains favourite to retain his Queen Mother Champion Chase title at March's Cheltenham Festival.

The win, combined with a second defeat in a row for rival Footpad at Leopardstown earlier in the day, has strengthened the Nicky Henderson-trained horse's position at the top of the betting market for the two-mile Festival race.

"Every time it gets scary, and after yesterday when we had a few bloody noses it frightens you, but that was just flawless," Henderson told ITV Racing after the 19-length win.

"Now we will do the Clarence House at Ascot [next month] and freshen him up for Cheltenham."

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'The next big thing' - Analysis

Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent

Jump racing only rarely gets genuine superstars, and no horse in Britain has reached the kind of heights of admiration mixed with affection associated with Red Rum in the 1970s or Desert Orchid in the 1980s and '90s since Sprinter Sacre, and before that Kauto Star.

Altior looks the next big thing, although actually getting to this point over jumps, with all its obvious risks, is itself a massive achievement.

The plan is to go to Ascot in January and then defend the Champion Chaser title at the Cheltenham Festival which, all being well, might well be the day he equals the record of Big Buck's (18/18).

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But Henderson, who admitted he had been tempted to run the horse over three miles in Wednesday's King George VI Chase, said he may revisit the plan in future.

"If he comes through this season holding his crown then you would think about the King George next year," he said. "But it is a big step from two miles up to three.

"It has to be one step at a time. We thought about the King George this year. We might have been wimps, but it is a joy to watch him doing that and I think everyone likes to see a horse do that."

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