Opinion within the industry has been somewhat polarised in recent days regarding the handling of Altior’s defection from the Silviniaco Conti chase at Kempton Park last weekend, trainer Nicky Henderson defending himself and criticising the BHA after it appeared bookmakers knew he was a non-runner before punters did.

Did Bookies Know Altior Was a Non-Runner?

For those who are unaware, top trainer Nicky Henderson is sponsored by bookmakers Unibet and pens a blog for them on a regular basis.

While from his point of view it’s set in stone that he must inform Unibet via this blog of information before anyone else, it was always taken as read that such details wouldn’t be held from the BHA but now the Seven Barrows handler has been forced to defend himself.

With Altior an ante post odds-on favourite for the Grade 2 Silvianiaco Conti Chase, many bets had already been placed on the two-time Champion Chase winner while the trainer’s other horse, Top Notch, was available at much bigger prices.

Altior’s price began to drift during the week with no initial explanation why, as the odds on Top Notch contracted and that made a few keen-eyed punters suspicious.

Henderson then informed the public via social media that there was “news” on Altior, but they’d have to read his blog to find out what it was.

As it transpired, Altior was said to have not been 100% and had been taken out of the race after numerous bets had been placed on Top Notch at large odds who then became the short-priced favourite after his stablemate’s defection.

After facing up to a huge public backlash with many calling skulduggery, Henderson has aimed his own ire at the BHA who he says sent a vet to examine Altior after the non-runner notification, claiming they stated on their website that the 10-year-old was declared a non-starter only after their visit.

As it turns out, Top Notch could not win the big race which went the way of Paul Nicholls’ Frodon and now the BHA are apparently investigating betting activity surrounding the Silviniaco Conti Chase.

Pentland Hills & Altior Targets

Altior is also set to miss his next intended engagement, the Clarence House Chase at Ascot this Saturday.

Only five are left in to fight for the Grade One prize in Berkshire as Henderson’s star will instead be aimed at the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury in February, a race he took in ahead of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival with the trainer hoping for the same result.

The five-time champion trainer in Britain has two of the main entries also for the Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock Park on Saturday, favouring Pentland Hills over Call Me Lord by all accounts.

With the ground set to be very testing on Merseyside plans have to remain fluid, and while neither horse may find underfoot conditions ideal it’s Aintree’s Grade One Juvenile Hurdle winner who could be getting the nod in order for his team to see if he appears good enough to aim for the big one on March 10th.

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Ban On Credit Card Transactions

While the bookmakers may be asked to supply information to the BHA’s integrity department regarding betting patterns before the Silviniaco Conti Chase, they’ll also have to update their systems now in order to not allow deposits via credit card.

The Gambling Commission announced on Tuesday that an industry-wide ban on credit card deposits will come into force on April 14th, something that while it is a minor headache for the bookmakers is being seen as a very positive step for the control of gambling related harms in the wider spectrum.