Altior out of Kempton but set to race Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham
Altior will not race at Kempton on Saturday and will be aimed at a Queen Mother Champion Chase hat-trick at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said Altior, who has won four times in all at the Festival, could next appear in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on 8 February.
"Our instinct tells us that he just doesn't look as good as he can do," said Henderson.
Altior's Kempton odds had drifted before the news broke,
The 10-year-old had been a hot 1-3 favourite but went out to 5-2 on Tuesday morning while bookies reported support for stablemate Top Notch.
The horse's 19-race unbeaten run, which included Champion Chase wins in 2018 and 2019, came to an end when beaten by Cyrname at Ascot in November.
Altior had been stepped up from two miles to two miles five furlongs, and will revert to the shorter trip.
"He will be given one entry at Cheltenham which will be in the Queen Mother Champion Chase," Henderson said in a blog for bookmakers Unibet.