Mick Fitzgerald is honoured to be looking after racing great Altior in retirement, but is making no immediate plans for the star chaser’s next career.
The ten-time Grade One winner, who holds a world record for 19 consecutive victories, was retired by his owners Christopher and Pat Pugh on Monday at the age of 11.
Confirming the news on his UniBet blog, trainer Nicky Henderson said Altior was “sound, healthy and ready for a new career”.
He will be looked after by Fitzgerald – Henderson’s former stable jockey – and his wife, heading to his new home after a final open day at the Seven Barrows yard this weekend.
Fitzgerald told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s going to enjoy his retirement here with me and my wife and he’s going to become part of our family.
We enjoyed some incredible days with Altior. Horses like him don’t come along very often. I’m very thankful to Patricia and Christoper Pugh & the team at Seven Barrows. We are all wishing Altior a long and happy retirement. 💚🖤 pic.twitter.com/YbCEfKtgw7
— Nico de Boinville (@NdeBoinville) September 13, 2021
“I feel very honoured that I’ve been asked to have him.
“There are no plans for him to do anything other than enjoy his retirement.
“He’ll be ridden regularly and he’ll tell us what he wants to do, whether that means that he might do the odd show or just hacks around and has a lovely time.
“Both my kids are riding now so he might be leading them round somewhere.
“The most important thing, I think it’s fairly safe to say, is that Altior has earned a good retirement and he’ll certainly get it here.”
Twiston-Davies: Altior a pleasure to watch
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was defeated by Altior on many occasions, but admits most riders would cheer on the champion if they were not up against him.
“I’d say there were plenty of us in the weighing room who chased him round,” Twiston-Davies told Sky Sports Racing.
“He’s been an amazing horse. It’s always sad to hear but it’s great to hear he’s going out after so many great days. He’ll be much missed by a lot of jockeys.
“Even when you weren’t riding against him he was a pleasure to watch, the way he went about things, travelled and jumped.
“You’d watch him in some of those races at Cheltenham and Nico [de Boinville] would give him a kick and off he’d go.
“If you weren’t riding in the race, you’d be cheering him on. If you were riding against him, you’d be thinking of any way to beat him and we tried everything but never could.”