He was set to go for a record-breaking 19th win in a row, but Nicky Henderson revealed on Friday that Altior would not run in the Melling chase at Aintree, scuppering 63% of ante-post bets in the process.

Stablemate Santini was also ruled out, but it’s Altior’s absence that will put a big dent in punters’ pockets, with nearly five times as many bets going on the nine-year-old than any other horse. 

Politologue now moves to become the market leader at 2/1 best price. He was 5/2 before the news broke, with 11% of punters feeling smug at what now looks a chunky price. 

Elsewhere, Cyrname is now 5/2 whilst Waiting Patiently, a horse Cyrname beat by 17 lengths at Ascot not long ago, is close behind at 3/1. Since Altior’s withdrawal, Politologue has racked up 57% of bets and now appears to be the horse punters are turning to. 

Looking to the future, Altior remains the 5/1 favourite for December’s King George, although you’d expect to see him reappear before the autumn. 

Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek: “Many were excited to see Altior tried over the extended trip, but we will have to wait to see the Champion Chaser take on that new challenge. 

Cyrname looks an attractive price now after his decisive Ascot win back in February, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him go off favourite ahead of the current incumbent Politologue.”