Huge favourites Altior and Tiger Roll triumph at Cheltenham
Altior secured a record-equalling 18th straight win by taking the honours in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Wednesday's action only went ahead after an early course inspection amid fears the high winds could prove dangerous, and the bookmakers may have been left wishing for a cancellation after the heavily-backed Altior and Tiger Roll took victory in the day's two flagship races.
Altior, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville, went off at 4-11 and just held off Politologue and Sceau Royal to successfully defend his title and equal Big Buck's jump-racing record for consecutive wins.
"He had to have a little fight, but he made it exciting for everybody, including myself!" said Henderson.
"I think he was getting a little lonely but as soon as Nico said go he was off. It was a cracking good race for everybody; for me, it was hell.
"We're incredibly lucky to have a horse like this. To have had two horses consecutively in your life like these two [as well as Sprinter Sacre] is incredible."
Following Altior's success, Tiger Roll (5-4) followed suit in even more impressive fashion – romping clear by a huge margin to win the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase under Keith Donoghue for the second year running.
"Tiger is something else. I'm delighted for Keith - we've had a rough week and it is nice to get a win. He is a legend," said trainer Gordon Elliott of 2018's Grand National winner.