Timico Gold Cup favourite Might Bite’s work at home has been “vastly superior” to anything he produced last year as a novice.
That is the view of champion trainer Nicky Henderson, as the King George VI Chase winner prepares for the most prestigious prize in steeplechasing next month.
Might Bite famously won the RSA Chase in dramatic fashion last March, having drifted markedly to his right and almost pulling himself up. He has done something similar in three of his four visits to Cheltenham.
“Everybody will have it in their mind what will happen should he jump the last in front,” said Henderson.
“The big question in the King George was that we knew Bristol De Mai was going to make the running, it was just a question of when we went and asked Bristol De Mai a question. It was a little bit earlier than I expected Nico (de Boinville) to do it, but it didn’t take long for him to say ‘goodbye’ to poor old Bristol De Mai.
“He is a more mature horse and he possibly looks more professional, but his work is certainly better. It is just of a higher standard.
“His work has been excellent. His work has been vastly superior to anything he did last year. He is a better horse at home than he was last year. I’m not going to say he is a better horse on the racecourse.
“I would like to go to a racecourse (for a gallop). It might be on the grass, it might be on the all-weather. He has got two more bits of work to do. He is in good form and worked this morning.”
On the question of him staying the Gold Cup distance, the Seven Barrows trainer said: “Of course we haven’t been three and a quarter-miles, but the Cotswold Chase (on Trials Day) was never really somewhere I wanted to go.
“To jump the last in front like that and come to a complete standstill and get going again up that hill, he must stay pretty well.
“He has been three miles round Cheltenham and he has got up the hill. I see no reason why he won’t get it. It’s not much further and he is another year stronger. The better the ground the better he will be.
“It (new course) is the stiffer track. It is further to come to the paddock, I know that. I shall be further away than I was last year, so it is not me that he is after or the Guinness tent either!”