Might Bite will head straight to Kempton

JOCKEY NICO de Boinville believes Might Bite, the new star of the steeplechasing ranks, could be even better this season after a pleasing '“ and winning '“ reappearance at Sandown yesterday.

The dual Grade One-victor novice, whose four-race winning run began at Doncaster in February, put in a solid round of jumping to win the Future Stars Intermediate Chase.

Might Bite will miss Haydock’s Betfair Chase on Saturday week and head straight to Kempton for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, jump racing’s mid-winter classic. On this form, the chaser will be a serious player in next year’s Gold Cup too.

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“Job done. I’m happy with that,” said a delighted de Boinville. “He was very fresh and well going down to the first. I felt I had to take up the running when I did just because he was enjoying himself so much.

“He’ll come on bundles for that. The big fences played to his strengths. He was pretty straightforward and he’ll come on loads for that. I really like him. He’s got so much scope for improvement that I think he’ll be even better than he was last year.”

Frodon made the early running, but Might Bite was never far away and jumped into the lead down the back straight on the final circuit a long way from home.

The eight-year-old asserted over the last couple of fences and justified his short odds to score comfortably by eight lengths to the obvious relief of trainer Nicky Henderson.

“It was straightforward. His jumping was great,” said the champion trainer.

“He just needed a run and I think he was running a bit fresh. He settled well and he jumped beautifully. That was ideal.

“Our objective is the King George and most agreed the sensible thing was to come here rather than the Betfair Chase at Haydock. He won’t run again until then and he’ll be miles straighter than he was (on Saturday). That’s part one done.

“Our job is now to get him there on Boxing Day quite a lot fitter than he was here.

“I wouldn’t say a racecourse gallop would go amiss, actually. We’ll try and win the King George and then make a second-half-of-the-season plan.”

Meanwhile, Colin Tizzard reports former King George winner Cue Card to be showing no ill effects of his crashing fall in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase.

The veteran took part in a racecourse gallop at Wincanton on Saturday under teenage jockey Harry Cobden, who is to replace Cue Card’s regular rider Paddy Brennan in the saddle.

Tizzard expects Cue Card to line up in the aforementioned Betfair Chase while stablemate Thistlecrack will reappear over hurdles at Newbury next month before attempting to defend his King George title.

“Cue Card is excited to be here – that’s Cue Card for you. He came out of Wetherby absolutely fine,” said the trainer, who dismissed growing calls to retire the multiple Grade One winner.

“I can’t think of anything we can do better than let Harry ride him round here and have a feel of him. We don’t want him to get to Haydock half-thinking he didn’t really know the horse. He knows him now anyway.

“Cue Card is still at the peak of his powers, I’ve got no doubt about that. He’s done more for our yard than probably any horse ever will and we’ll look after him. The day we think he’s on the wane, we’ll stop.”

As for the Tom Scudamore-ridden Thistlecrack, Tizzard added: “Thistlecrack is going to go there (Newbury) and then onto the King George. For him it was the ideal situation to come here.

“He’s a big, strong horse and two miles round there should tighten him up lovely – mentally and physically.”