Henderson to keep Might Bite under wraps until Boxing Day
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.