Sizing John’s withdrawal from the Cheltenham Gold Cup has opened the pathway for a new winner to take the crown. Jessica Harrington’s charge suffered a hairline fracture last week, forcing him out of the race and denying the bay gelding the opportunity to become the first horse since Best Mate to defend the title.
As a result, the rest of the talented field, including Might Bite, will be lining up to seize a place in history by winning one of the world’s most prestigious races. The Cheltenham Festival betting is hotting up, with the Irish horse considered the leading contender to land the Gold Cup crown due to his imperious run of form since the start of 2017.
Nicky Henderson’s charge made his first impact at the start of the 2016-17 National Hunt campaign, with a fine performance at the Novices’ Chase in Doncaster. He was the favourite for the meet, but still rose to the occasion to deliver a comfortable victory ahead of his stable-mate Premier Bond. However, Might Bite spurned an opportunity to make an impact on the major stage, falling in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park at the last fence after looking poised for the victory.
The Irish horse bounced back before Cheltenham Festival with a dominant win at the Novices’ Chase at Doncaster, finishing 99 lengths ahead of his nearest challenger. With Nico de Boinville in the saddle, he carried that form into the RSA Novices’ Chase. Once again Might Bite made a late mistake after pulling clear of the field, but on this occasion he held his composure to close out the victory, finishing a nose ahead of stablemate Whisper to take the crown.
Source: Kevin Blake Horse Racing via Facebook
Might Bite got the better of Whisper once again to end the campaign on a high note at the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree, using his speed down the stretch to win the meet by two lengths. After a seven-month absence, the bay gelding returned to action for the Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown Park. He was expected to triumph in a limited field and De Boinville ensured that there was no upset guiding his charge off to a steady start before upping the ante in the closing stage to record an eight-length victory.
The nine-year-old returned to Kempton Park, one year removed from his fall at the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, this time for the King George VI Chase. Henderson’s charge faced a talented field and had to put a marker down from the off keeping pace with the early leaders. He took charge of the contest with four fences remaining and was just able to edge out his compatriot Double Shuffle down the straight to secure the victory.
Might Bite has not raced since his triumph at Kempton Park and Henderson may have concerns whether his charge will be rusty coming out of the gate. However, on pure talent, there’s no competitor like the Irish horse in the field, making him the outstanding candidate for the crown.