Cyrname v Altior: Horse Racing’s Next Big Rivalry?

On December 15, 2019 by Muelo

With Cyrname’s victory at the 1965 Chase at Ascot a couple of weeks ago, Altior’s remarkable winning run came to an end. Although he was undefeated in 14 straight races, and the favourite in horse racing odds from Betfair to make it 15, Altior could not catch Cyrname, who led from the front throughout the near two-and-three-quarter-mile race.   

Cyrname has been quietly making a name for himself while Altior has been getting most of the plaudits. Even though Altior has won the headlines, horse racing fans will know that Cyrname has long had the potential to usurp the Paul Nicholls-trained thoroughbred, and so it proved at Ascot.  

It was a race in which Altior failed to assert his class, trailing Cyrname from start to finish, and it’s possible the pressure got to jockey Nico De Boinville. But that does not take away from the fine performance of Cyrname and his rider Harry Cobden. In some respects, the shackles were off for Cobden and his horse. Altior was the bookies’ favourite, so the race was something of a free hit to prove that there are other challengers capable of racing at that level.  

Rivalry brewing 

It could prove that the tussle between Cyrname and Altior in the 1965 Chase is the start of a long rivalry between the two. De Boinville and Altior’s trainer Nicky Henderson will be eager to exact revenge at some point, and the upcoming King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26th could provide an opportunity for Cyrname and Altior to face off once again. 

The King George VI Chase is run over around three miles and is a flatter course, so this might favour Altior if the two horses do go head to head once more on Boxing Day. Of course, the race is one of the most anticipated events in the racing calendar, and there will be plenty of other contenders hoping to take first prize.  

But there is a sense that a rivalry is brewing, and the Boxing Day meet will be a great chance to see the two horses in action again. Racing fans will remember great rivalries in the past like Kauto Star and Denman, and Altior v Cyrname could be the next chapter in thrilling horse racing head-to-heads.  

How the jockeys compare 

De Boinville will be desperate to make up for defeat at Ascot and get back to winning ways. He rode Altior throughout the unbeaten run and losing in the 1965 Chase will have been a shock to the system.  

By contrast, Cobden will be full of confidence after toppling the bookies’ favourite. He has ridden Cyrname to three successive wins now and that taste of victory is a great motivating factor. Speaking after the win at Ascot, Cobden said: “I could hear him (Altior) every step of the way, which is why I wanted to stride on down the back and outstay him, which is what we have done really.” 

Those words speak of a strong desire to get the better of Altior. The battle between the two jockeys will make the potential meeting at the King George VI Chase all the more interesting. Can Altior and De Boinville recover and prove their champion qualities, or is it the turn of Cyrname and Cobden to dominate? 

@media all and (max-width: 228px) { div#darkbackground, div.visiblebox { display: none; } }