Horses That Could Be The Surprise Package At Cheltenham


The first horse that we think could cause a huge shock at this years festival is the four time Grade 1 winning Might Bite for trainer Nicky Henderson.

This season was set up to be the ultimate campaign for the 10 year old with the two big Grade 1s in the King George VI Stakes and Gold Cup, up for grabs in a very difficult but inconsistent division there for the taking.

However, the seven barrows trained chaser has had the season from hell with the potential to right his name in jumps racing folklore and all the preseason hype centred towards this horse and he just has not looked the same jumper as he was last year.

He started his campaign off at Haydock in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase where he went off favourite but something seemed to be a miss when all the other horses picked up and he didn't.

This saw him finish last of five, with his trainer saying the bigger fences at Haydock were not to his liking and took a lot out of him on his seasonal return.

He then moved on to the King George at Kempton a track loves racing at and he was defending his 2017 title. He was even more disappointing in this finishing laboured and way back in the field.

Might Bite

Henderson revealed that he came back bleeding from his nose which has never happened before and after that an infection was found.

It was then they made the conscious decision to get him fully prepared and not race him again until the Gold Cup and that is what Henderson has done.

He is now reported to be in good form again and from knowing in the past how well this trainer can get a horse in the best possible shape and reverse the odds from previous runs, he could just turn up on the biggest occasion of all.

Might Bite is currently sitting at a 20/1 outsider for the contest he finished a brilliant second in behind Native River. We think he could be the surprise package for this race if Nicky Henderson has got him back to his very best which he revealed he might of.

(Credit Racing Post) Henderson said: “We have done lots of things with Might Bite. We have recauterised his palate.

"A lot of horses have had the surgery done a few times – it can last about three runs and then you have to do it again.

“We have freshened him up and Nico [De Boinville, jockey] rode him on Saturday and thought he was in terrific form. If it was good ground in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, which it would need to be, then hopefully he would run well."


Our next horse that we think can be a surprise package at this season's renewal of the Cheltenham Festival is last years leading novice hurdler Samcro for trainer Gordon Elliott.

The sky was the limit for Samcro at the start of this season with the Champion Hurdle the race he was being targeted at but after disappointing on his seasonal return at Down Royal, finishing a weak second to Bedrock and then Getting smashed again at Newcastle to Buveur D'Air Elliott had to have a serious think about where to go next.

His last run which finally put the last nail in the coffin for his Champion Hurdle dream was when finishing a strange fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.

This sparked the enquiry into the horses health because this seven year old was the best novice hurdler around last season and had looked a shadow of his former self.


It was then revealed he had been suffering with a serious lung infection which would have been the reason for his below par races.

It was thought from there that Samcro would not race again this season and would be saved so he could fully recover and potentially go chasing next year.

However, Elliott revealed he had returned to training and had fully recovered from his lung infection with Cheltenham now a strong possibility.

The Stayers Hurdle looks to be the most sensible option with him being upped in trip and the Champion Hurdle looking the most competitive race of the season.

If Samcro comes back bigger and better than how he has previously been this season and able to recreate his form of last season he could just cause a huge upset.


The third and final horse who could be a the biggest surprise package of the lot is the Willie Mullins trained Annamix who is owned by Rich Ricci.

This horse has been raved about by his owner and quoted saying this horse is his one to watch for the season but he still is an unknown entity in the racing only racing once.

The six year old on his debut in Ireland over the Christmas period finished a good second of 15 runners in a 2 mile maiden hurdle on soft ground and he did show signs of ability.

He is 25/1 to take the first race of the festival in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and with the way Mullins gets his horses ready for the four days at Prestbury Park you would not put it past him to land the spoils.

We have put this six year old in this section due to his trainer, connections and the way he held himself on his first experience on a racecourse, he truly is the surprise package of the festival for us.