It could be the clash of the 2019/20 Jumps Season, Altior vs Cyrname on Saturday, the are the two highest-rated horses in training.
Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald have went to Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson respectively as they prepare their charges for the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday 23rd November, live on Sky Sports Racing
Altior has won 19 races in a row since being sent over obstacles, though he’s never raced beyond two miles, two furlongs. While Cyrname is undefeated (2-2) over Saturday’s distance of two miles, five.
British Horse Racing Authority’s official view for granted and apply the rough rule of one length per pound, then Cyrname (176) wins narrowly from Altior (175). Which seems amazing considering the Altior has never been beaten in his 19 races.
Their jumps editor Dan Barber explains: “It’s not uncommon for Timeform and BHA ratings to differ, especially when it comes to those horses going into handicaps for the first time in their early days.
“But it becomes less frequent in the normally more transparent air of ratings higher up the scale, which makes the disparity in our respective opinions on Altior and Cyrname all the more stark.
“The BHA used Cyrname’s Ascot handicap rout as their basis for his claim to the status as the best jumper in training (176 vs 175), yet even with our lofty rating of 173+ on that same performance, Altior still leads the way on our scale with 180.
“Of course, we could have gone higher on the Ascot display, but there have been a good few examples of well-run races on Ascot’s chase track producing suspiciously dominant performances (Tamarinbleu or Tenor Nivernais, anyone?), and a Timefigure of ‘only’ 168 meant we felt it was sensible to exercise caution in handicapping that race – for context, Altior clocked a 180 when hammering Min in the 2018 Champion Chase.
“And then there’s the added layer of Timeform symbols. Altior retains a ‘p’ – an indication he’s yet to show his all – even at this relatively late stage in his career, which is a reflection of, in contrast to the full-blooded style of Cyrname, a horse who rarely has to do any more than is necessary.
“And it’s exactly that factor that makes Saturday so exciting – not only does Altior seem likely to relish the extra distance, Cyrname’s presence as the hare could just pull something outrageous out of the animal with, in our strong view, the biggest engine in training.”