All good things must come to an end.
For 19 races Nicky Henderson’s Altior had conquered all opposition but a Herculean effort from Cyrname, Britain’s highest-rated chaser, finally ended the run to electrify the Berkshire gloom at Ascot on Saturday
Harry Cobden steered the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old to victory in the most anticipated race of the National Hunt season so far, making all as it claimed victory in the Christy 1965 Steeple Chase.
There was a crackling atmosphere as the race got under way and Cyrname and Altior quickly surged clear of the only other horse in the field, Solomon Grey.
Altior was always a length or so in arrears but had every chance as the two entered the home straight but the Nicholls’ horse held all the aces and secured a determined victory by 2¼ lengths with Solomon Grey over 60 lengths third.
"What a race,” Nicholls said. “They went some bloody gallop the whole way. He's a changed horse, took time to mature mentally and physically and has beaten a superstar horse who ran very well."
The day had started so well for Henderson who saddled the first two winners, as he did on the same course on Friday.
Valtor under James Bowen surged to a confident victory in the opening Molton Brown Novices’ Hurdle Chase before following up with Pym and Nico de Boinville galloping home in the Horse Racing Ireland Steeple Chase.
Capeland exacted sweet revenge over Diego de Charmil, three weeks after their dramatic encounter on the same course.
Last time out Diego de Charmil and Capeland were involved in a dramatic conclusion to a listed race when Diego de Charmil cut across Capeland at the last, forcing them both to go round the side of the final fence before recovering and holding on to win.
This time there was no such drama as Capeland, 6lbs better off this time, turned the tables and scored a handsome win over his rival and stablemate in the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Steeple Chase.
The Grade 2 Coral Hurdle went to If The Cap Fits when the Harry Fry-trained seven-year-old won from Henderson’s Call Me Lord.