Is It Right For Cyrname To Be Rated Better Than Altior?

Is It Right For Cyrname To Be Rated Better Than Altior?

After Cyrname demolished the field in the Ascot Chase on Saturday, the handicapper has since reacted by titling him as the best chaser in training, three pounds superior to current Champion Chaser Altior.

Many people are calling this crazy - Altior is bidding to emulate Big Buck's record of eighteen consecutive victories with a back-to-back success in the Queen Mother next month at the Cheltenham Festival, and is yet to come into grief over obstacles in all.

Paul Nicholls' star was raised to a new rating of 178 after his performance in a first-time Grade One field, which has only been bettered by seven horses since the turn of the century - but was this fair, or is the handicapper rightfully doing his job?

Just like his stable companion Clan Des Obeaux - also a winner on Saturday, the pair have finally come of age as seven year olds, and hit the heights of the top level steeplechasing.

Cyrname has been racing over fences since November 2017, and has won on five of his ten starts - two of those at the Berkshire venue in the last couple of weeks.

The way he conducted himself in a handicap back in January proved to his connections that he deserved a rise back to the top level, and he strung the field - with better horses in it completely out, leaving them in a different county as he led from pillar to post once again.

Waiting Patiently, Politologue, Fox Norton - high class individuals who have competed at the top level for some time, were made to look like nothing at all, and on that evidence, you would be a fool to argue that it was one, if not the performance of the season so far.

Paul Nicholls Horse Trainer
Paul Nicholls

That is deemed fair, but to be then subsequently rated above a horse who has been at the top for a long time and remains unbeaten against all in his division, it might be a step too far.

Cyrname has won by a distance of twenty-one and seventeen lengths in his last two outings - the latter most notable as said for being in a Grade One field.

Take that distance of seventeen, and compare that to Altior's runs in the same company - the best he has managed to achieve is only a distance of eight lengths.

His wins in the Arkle and in last year's Champion Chase were noticeable to the eye that he hit a flat spot mid-running.

Having said that, most of his victories including his triumph twelve months ago at Cheltenham did prove to be all too easy for him in the end.

Altior was also last seen at Ascot when landing the Clarence House last month, but there was simply no competition to his crown, and he tended to jump left from what trainer Nicky Henderson suggested was 'boredom'.


To now be categorised amongst the likes of Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre, Denman and Moscow Flyer let alone Altior might be all too much after one victory like that.

His figure can sit with a '+' or a 'p', as he is open to further improvement and would probably end up repeating those displays if in the same form.

Nicholls is absolutely right to suggest that he could be the one to bring an end to Altior's supremacy, but for now, his figure may be false.

The pair will not meet at Cheltenham - this year anyway, but Nicholls is open to the possibility of an encounter later in the season, perhaps at Sandown or Aintree.

If not, we could be talking about the two new contenders for the King George at the end of the year, and the beginning of the 2020 season.

Time will certainly tell.