Nicky Henderson's now retired superstar Altior is in a battle for his life after suffering a nasty bout of colic and although currently in a stable condition, he is certainly not out of the woods yet.
The 13-year-old was a horse of a lifetime for his connections during his career being beaten only three times over obstacles, landing a 19 race unbeaten run that lasted from 2015 up until November 2019 where Cyrname got the better of him when he was stepped up in trip for the first time.
Henderson's stable star saw off every horse possible in the two mile division winning at four consecutive Cheltenham festivals and overall having 10 Grade One wins to his name.
Known best for his dual successes in the Grade One Champion Chase at the Cheltenham festival, he retired at the end of the 2021 season when finishing second to Greaneteen in the Grade One Celebration Chase in his last race.
Altior has since spent his retirement with former jockey Mick Fitzgerald, but Henderson has revealed his one-time stable star is now fighting for his life in hospital.
Henderson said in his Unibet blog: “Unfortunately we have a problem with Altior after it was discovered on Saturday morning that he was suffering from a severe bout of colic.
“As a consequence, he was taken to the equine hospital very, very quickly where he had to undergo a four-hour operation to remove a considerable amount of his intestine. It was a big operation and not straightforward.
“On Sunday morning, he was still extremely uncomfortable so had to undergo further surgery due to complications. There is some reasonably positive news in the fact that this morning he is stable, but still critical.
“Pat Pugh (owner) has been to see him on several occasions and he is currently in extremely good hands with all of the team at Donnington Valley. It’s a terrible shame because he deserves a long and happy retirement and was really enjoying life at Chloe and Mick Fitzgerald’s.
“It’s been extremely tough, and no horse deserves this, especially dear Altior who gave so much pleasure to everyone on the track.
“In an ironic twist, we welcomed his gorgeous four-year-old old brother to Seven Barrows last week. He is the most handsome son of Camelot and is really pleasing us all.
“We are all praying and doing everything humanely possible to ensure he can pull through and continue living life as he should.”