Might Bite to have wind operation
Might Bite will have his soft palate re-cauterised and will not run again until the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15, although trainer Nicky Henderson admitted he is unsure the operation will resolve whatever has been hindering the 10-year-old.
Winner of the 2017 King George VI Chase and runner-up in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Might Bite has been disappointing on both starts this season having finished last in the Betfair Chase and seventh in the King George despite being sent off favourite each time.
Henderson had pointed the finger at Haydock’s stiff fences for Might Bite’s performance in the Betfair Chase, while the classy chaser was reported to have bled after his run at Kempton.
Following his latest effort, Might Bite was given an extensive MOT with nothing major coming to light. However, connections have opted to have his breathing operated on to assist him anyway.
“We cannot find anything wrong with him,” Henderson told the Racing Post. “When you can’t find a problem, eight times out of ten, it’s respiratory. He’s sound and healthy. This is the only conclusion we can come to.
“We don’t know that we’ve got to the bottom of it, as it is not something we can categorically prove, but in our opinion it’s the most likely solution.”
Might Bite had his palate cauterised in 2016, along with a hobday operation which remains in place, and Henderson added: “Cauterising doesn’t last forever and you have to redo it with a lot of horses. We put our heads together with a number of experts and it’s the conclusion we’ve come to.”
The operation, which took place on Thursday, is expected to only hold Might Bite up for two weeks, according to Henderson, but is still likely to mean he goes straight for the Gold Cup, in which he was a gallant second to Native River last year.
“Last year he went straight from Kempton to the Gold Cup and he ran a good race, so it won’t bother him,” the champion trainer said.
Might Bite was pushed out to a general 14-1 (from 7) for the Gold Cup after his run in the King George. Presenting Percy, who has not run since winning the RSA Chase in March, is the 9-2 market leader.