ALTIOR recorded his 18th consecutive win as he defended the Queen Mother Champion Chase crown on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday (Wednesday).

The Nicky Henderson-trained superstar went off as an 4/11 on favourite, but was made to work hard by Politologue before getting up under jockey Nico de Boinville.

Lambourn trainer Henderson, celebrating his 63rd winner at the showpiece of the jumps' season, said: "He had to have a little fight, but he made it exciting for everybody; including myself.

"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, but for me it was hell.

"He can do anything; Saint Calvados went a good gallop which helped us. Altior made one mistake at the water, but that was about it.

"We're incredibly lucky to have a horse like this. To have had two horses consecutively in your life like these two (Sprinter Sacre as well) is incredible."

Henderson and de Boinville had earlier sprung a surprise when William Henry landed the Coral Cup at 28/1.

Henderson's first winner at this year's festival came on Tuesday, when Beware The Bear (10/1) landed the Grade Three Ultima Handicap Chase.

There was less success for Sonning-based owner Max McNeill, with Seddon finishing seventh in the opening Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on Wednesday, before The World's End was pulled up in the RSA Chase.