A wind operation interrupted Altior’s preparation for the Tingle Creek, and it seems there are a few bettors still concerned with his health ahead of this weekend’s big race. The Nicky Henderson-trained horse hasn’t taken to the track since beating Special Tiara in the Celebration Chase at Sandown last April.
Altior is the 8/11 favourite for the Betfair Exchange Chase, leaving Politologue second in the market ahead of JLT winner, Fox Norton. Henderson’s horse faced Fox Norton in the same race last year, beating Aidan Coleman’s charge by 13 lengths. Politologue has been in fine form himself, winning on his last three outings, including a narrow victory over Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek. Paul Nicholls’ 7 year-old was last seen beating Vaniteux with ease at Kempton over the festive period.
The British public appear to be impressed by that victory, as 43% of bets have been on Politologue, despite being 11/4. Altior has been the second most popular selection in the race and currently accounts for 36% of all bets. This weekend’s showdown will have a severe impact on Cheltenham betting. Altior is currently 11/8 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase whilst Politologue can still be backed at 5/1.
The 2017 Arkle winner has been the second most backed for the QMCC, and accounts for just under 15% of bets. Politologue is some way down the pecking order with Cheltenham punters and only accounts for 9% of bets. The Willie Mullins-trained Min has been the most backed, but expect this to change after the weekend.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “A win for Altior would certainly see him shoot to odds-on for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, however, rival Politologue won't make it easy for the returning eight-year-old on his season debut. “Henderson admitted last week Altior was 'at his most vulnerable; so it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.”