Dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Altior is reported to be in a stable but critical condition after suffering a severe bout of colic.
A true jump racing great, Altior won 19 races in a row for Nicky Henderson, including the 2018 and 2019 Champion Chase, on his way to becoming the highest-rated horse in training, with a peak mark of 175.
He was retired in 2021 aged 11, bowing out having won 21 of his 26 career starts, including 10 Grade One races and four victories at the Cheltenham Festival.
Altior has since spent his retirement with former jockey Mick Fitzgerald, but Henderson has revealed his one-time stable star is now fighting for his life in hospital.
“Unfortunately we have a problem with Altior after it was discovered on Saturday morning that he was suffering from a severe bout of colic,” the Seven Barrows handler said in his Unibet blog.
“As a consequence, he was taken to the equine hospital very, very quickly where he had to undergo a four-hour operation to remove a considerable amount of his intestine. It was a big operation and not straightforward.
“On Sunday morning, he was still extremely uncomfortable so had to undergo further surgery due to complications. There is some reasonably positive news in the fact that this morning he is stable, but still critical.
“Pat Pugh [owner] has been to see him on several occasions and he is currently in extremely good hands with all of the team at Donnington Valley. It’s a terrible shame because he deserves a long and happy retirement and was really enjoying life at Chloe and Mick Fitzgerald’s.
“It’s been extremely tough, and no horse deserves this, especially dear Altior who gave so much pleasure to everyone on the track.
“In an ironic twist, we welcomed his gorgeous four-year-old old brother to Seven Barrows last week. He is the most handsome son of Camelot and is really pleasing us all.
“We are all praying and doing everything humanely possible to ensure he can pull through and continue living life as he should.”