Might Bite wins King George to strengthen his Cheltenham Gold Cup claims

The eight-year-old exorcised his Kempton demons 12 months on from a final-fence disaster in the Novices' Chase

Graham Clark
Tuesday 26 December 2017 19:25 GMT
Might Bite wins at Kempton in the King George VI Chase
Might Bite wins at Kempton in the King George VI Chase

Might Bite advanced his Cheltenham Gold Cup claims when laying to rest his Kempton demons with victory in the 32Red King George VI Chase.

After suffering a final-fence fall in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at the track 12 months ago, the eight-year-old gained deserved compensation to complete a Grade One double for trainer Nicky Henderson, who had earlier won the Christmas Hurdle with Buveur D'Air.

Close to the pace throughout, Might Bite (6-4 favourite) hit the front rounding the home turn before digging deep after the last to hold off the challenge of Double Shuffle by a length, with Tea For Two a further two lengths adrift in third.

Henderson said: "He is good to watch. You could enjoy watching horses like him all day and night.

"He loves all the showmanship that goes with it and he likes to jump like that and boss it and say, 'Look at me'. The nice thing was that he handled the ground.

"We have our little scheme which is try not to press before the last. Don't let him know that is the last then you can go for your life after it.

"They (owners, the Knot Again Partnership) are a real fun team of mates. It is very special for us to get a horse like this and they deserve it."

All roads for Might Bite now lead towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for which he was cut from 6-1 into 5-1 by Coral.

Henderson added: "The next question is what we do next. We will probably have another run.

"It won't be a slog in a bog, wherever it is. If it froze up until March 16 that wouldn't bother me

"Now we have got to behave ourselves at Cheltenham. Cheltenham is a different ball game and he will probably want to go right."

Winning jockey Nico de Boinville was full of praise for Might Bite after he cast aside his rider's concerns over the ground.

He said: "He jumped the last as if he had plenty left and I think he was just idling slightly, if something had come at him I think he'd have gone again.

"He's a delightful horse. I was a bit worried about the ground, having ridden on it earlier, but this was great."

Tom George hailed the efforts of runner-up Double Shuffle, who outran his 50-1 price-tag.

George said: "Three miles on this track probably suits him best and better ground would help him as well.

"I've not even thought about Cheltenham."

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