Secret plan for Might Bite

Nicky Henderson has revealed he has a secret plan for Might Bite in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday week.

While he would not disclose any details, the Seven Barrows handler admitted his team had come up with a course of action to aid the King George VI Chase winner in his attempt to lift jump racing’s most coveted prize.

“We’ve devised a battle plan for Might Bite, but we’re not telling anyone,” Henderson told Unibet’s Cheltenham Festival preview.

“Good to soft come the Friday would be ideal for everybody. I do think he likes good ground. The better the ground, the better [his chances].

“He’s as good as gold. His schooling the other morning was scarily good.

“Nico [de Boinville] has ridden him at home and he was great. He doesn’t do anything wrong at home. He’s just had those couple of blips. His mind, you just have to read a little bit. He just needs to be minded.

“Things can upset him — it doesn’t in a race — but you just have to be very careful with him.”

Henderson also reports all to be well with Altior, as last year’s Arkle Trophy winner bids to make a triumphant return to Cheltenham in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase a week from today.

The star two-mile performer made a belated comeback at Newbury last month with a pleasing success over Tingle Creek winner Politologue in the Game Spirit Chase.

Henderson has had a smooth run with the unbeaten chaser since then.

“Everything went right [at Newbury] and we haven’t needed to have done a whole heap [of work].”

“He did a bit of work [on Monday morning]. He’ll do a little bit more and then he can have a school.

“He’s a natural athlete.”

Altior’s final run of last season came in the Celebration Chase at Sandown, where he defeated the 2017 Champion Chase winner Special Tiara.

Henry de Bromhead’s 11-year-old is set for his fifth successive appearance in this race, having finished sixth and third twice in his other attempts.

His rider Noel Fehily sees no reason as to why Special Tiara cannot add to his decent record in the race.

“I thought he ran very well at Leopardstown the last time [when third to Min in the Dublin Chase],” he said. “It looks a good Champion Chase, but he never knows how to run a bad race. He always turns up, goes flat-out, jumps and he’s always there or thereabouts.

“He’s a very genuine horse and tries his best.”

Jessica Harrington is thinking of putting last year’s hero Sizing John through his paces at Leopardstown ahead of his bid to become the first horse to defend his Gold Cup crown since Best Mate in 2003.

“We may go to Leopardstown on Friday evening to give him a jump and a gallop. I’m not certain, it will just depend on what the weather does,” said the Moone handler.

“We seem to be on course with him. I’m happy with him.”

Harrington has a good second string to her bow in last year’s Irish Grand National victor Our Duke, who was due to be acquainted with his big-race pilot Noel Fehily in a workout.

“He’s in great order. He’s going to go to the Gold Cup so we’ve got two chances,” she said.

“Trainers never know who is going to beat who. They’ve never worked against each other. If everything went well, there wouldn’t be much between them.”



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