Hen­der­son to keep Might Bite un­der wraps un­til Box­ing Day

The Guardian - Sport - - Rugby Union Autumn Internationals -

Might Bite took his win­ning streak to four in the Fu­ture Stars In­ter­me­di­ate Chase at Sandown yes­ter­day and Nicky Hen­der­son de­clared it would now be all sys­tems go for the King George at Kemp­ton Park on Box­ing Day.

Hen­der­son, who trains last sea­son’s star novice stay­ing chaser, said: “It was straight­for­ward. His jump­ing was great. He just needed a run and I think he was run­ning a bit fresh. He set­tled well and he jumped beau­ti­fully. That was ideal.

“Our ob­jec­tive now is the King George. He won’t run again un­til then and he’ll be miles straighter than he was to­day. That’s part one done. Our job is now to get him there on Box­ing Day quite a lot fit­ter than he was to­day. I wouldn’t say a race­course gal­lop would go amiss, ac­tu­ally.”

Might Bite is among the bet­ting mar­ket lead­ers for the Chel­tenham Gold Cup but Hen­der­son said: “We’ll try and win the King George and then make a sec­ond-hal­fof-the-sea­son plan.”

The eight-year-old as­serted him­self over the last cou­ple of Sandown’s fences and jus­ti­fied his short odds of 4-9 favourite to score com­fort­ably by eight lengths un­der Nico de Boinville, who said: “He was very fresh and well go­ing down to the first. I felt I had to take it up when I did just be­cause he was en­joy­ing him­self so much.

“He’ll come on bun­dles for that. The big fences played to his strengths. He was pretty straight­for­ward and he’ll come on loads for that.” Most book­mak­ers cut Might Bite’s King George odds to around 3-1 favourite, just ahead of Thistle­crack and Siz­ing John.

At Na­van Ap­ple’s Jade was the star act in a big-race hat-trick at the track for the com­bi­na­tion of trainer Gor­don El­liott, jockey Jack Kennedy and own­ers Gig­gin­stown House Stud.

Ap­ple’s Jade, a mul­ti­ple Grade Onewin­ning mare who won the mares’ hur­dle at the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val in March, made light of a 7lb penalty in the Lis­mullen Hur­dle to sug­gest she is set for an­other lu­cra­tive cam­paign. Jer’s Girl looked a dan­ger from three out but the class of Ap­ple’s Jade kicked in from the last and the 8-15 favourite won cosily by two lengths.

“That was grand as she nor­mally gets beat the first day,” El­liott said. “I’d imag­ine she’ll go to Fairy­house now for the Hat­ton’s Grace. It’s grand to get that out of the way.”

Clar­cam ran out a game win­ner of the other Grade Two con­test on the card, the For­tria Chase. The seven-year-old dug deep to beat the long-time leader, Alisier D’Ir­lande, by half a length af­ter be­ing held up in the early stages. Mengli Khan looked a bright prospect when achiev­ing the treble for El­liott.

PA

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