Might Bite Update

Might Bite Update

It was on inevitable before Saturday's Betfair Chase, that whilst there would be a winner, there would be four losers.

Three of those you could say ran creditable races - but as for Might Bite, he very much disappointed as the even-money favourite, finishing last of the five; twenty lengths behind fourth-placed Clan Des Obeaux.

However, trainer Nicky Henderson said on Sunday, that his star chase was in panic mode by the larger fences at Haydock, and asks racing fans to not write off last season's King George winner.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "My feeling is that he nudged the second or third fence and, for me, throughout the race he wasn't jumping with his normal fluency. When he's in full flow it's aggression, it's attack, attack, attack.

"If you go back to the early days of him as a steeplechaser, the first time we ran him I thought he was brilliant. He went to Cheltenham and we frightened the living daylights out of him and I had to put him back over hurdles for a year. The next time he ran in a chase was at Ffos Las and he got beaten because he was ballooning fences.

"There's no doubt the fences (at Haydock) were bigger than they normally are and I just think he got in a bit of a panic mode. It unsettled him, it was his first run of the season, he's come back from two big battles at Cheltenham and Aintree and first time out he's bound to be a bit ring-rusty."

Might Bite had not finished out of the first two in a completed race for more than two and a half years, and as a result of his sub-standard return to the track, Henderson will send him back to schooling practice.

It was the 9yo's first run of the season, and many would say that a chaser with this much ability should be able to adapt after a lengthy break, especially on what was perceived as his ideal ground conditions.

Henderson is confident however that Might Bite will get back to his brilliant best, and can follow up in the King George on Boxing Day, with the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March still very much the plan.

The Champion Trainer told the Racing Post: "I was pretty sure he was fit, Noel (Fehily) schooled him on Monday morning and he was absolutely electric, but our schooling fences are half the size of Haydocks'.

"There's no doubt the fences were big. I don't blame the course and it's the same for everyone. But I did go down and have a look at the fences because the jockeys were saying they were very big and they were very solid.

"He was using up a lot of mental energy and physical energy by jumping too carefully and he wasn't his usual fluent self. Normally when he's in full flow he'll take you from fence to fence and he just wasn't doing that yesterday."

The fences at Haydock did seem larger than usual, and as a result, seven of the 25 runners in chase races on Saturday afternoon, either fell or unseated their riders.

Compare this to only four out of 28 falling or unseating on the same card twelve months ago.