As his recovery from colic continues, Altior is “more comfortable.”
Altior has received a positive bulletin from Nicky Henderson, indicating that he is recovering from a severe case of colic.
The Seven Barrows handler made the announcement on Wednesday that the problem necessitated two operations for his former two-mile stable star over the weekend, including a four-hour procedure on Saturday.
Even though Henderson is a little bit more upbeat about the health of the 13-year-old, he admits that Altior still has “a very long way to go.”
He told his Unibet blog: “I am pleased to report this morning that Altior had a good night and is more comfortable than he has been so far.
“There is still a very long way to go and the next stage is try to wean him off the artificial feeding system towards more natural, normal feed which will test his internal organs and if they can cope.
“It will be a big change and the question, to put it very simply, will be if his gut will still work, so it’s another big day with plenty of risks involved; with each step comes another big test.”
Altior, a true legend in jump racing, won 19 races in a row for Henderson, including the Champion Chase in 2018 and 2019. He became the highest-rated horse in training with a peak mark of 175, and he won both of those races.
He retired in 2021 at the age of 11, having won 21 of his 26 career starts, including four victories at the Cheltenham Festival and 10 Grade One races.
Since then, Altior has spent his retirement with former jockey Mick Fitzgerald. Henderson plans to make his own trip later on Thursday, and Fitzgerald paid a visit on Wednesday.
He added: “Mick and Chloe (Fitzgerald, wife) saw him last night and said he was definitely much brighter and perkier in himself, which is a good sign. I was unable to visit yesterday but will be seeing him later today and (owner) Pat Pugh has barely left his side.
“A lot of people say he was a fighter on course and he’s now having to prove it off it as well, but we’re keeping fingers and toes crossed that he pulls through and we’ll keep everyone posted with any further news.”
Henderson also thanked racing fans for their support of Altior, who had a large following during his racing career.
He said: “I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ from all of us and everyone at the surgery who have sent so many kind messages about Altior. We are very touched and I only wish Altior could read. It means a lot.
“I’d also like to give special mention to Kate McGovern who heads up the team in charge of Altior at Donnington Grove, and while he is still in intensive care, they are doing the most wonderful job and we cannot thank them enough.”
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