Nicky Henderson believes Might Bite is ready to do himself justice in the Betway Bowl at Aintree today.
The King George VI Chase hero had to make do with the runner-up spot in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, but is odds-on across the board to end his season with victory on Merseyside.
Henderson admits his charge had a hard race at the Cheltenham Festival, but he has been pleased with how he has performed on the Seven Barrows gallops in recent days.
Speaking in his Unibet blog, Henderson said: “I was delighted with his run in the Gold Cup and he has come out of it in great form.
“The ground was soft there and it will obviously be the same here.
“I don’t know how much Cheltenham has taken out of him, but his work has been excellent, as has his schooling, and he must come here with a great chance.”
Bristol De Mai was a staggering 57-length winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, but proved no match for Might Bite at Kempton on Boxing Day and was a shade disappointing again when only third in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has given his grey a wind operation and an extended break since then.
And with conditions in his favour at Aintree, hopes are high he can show his true colours once more.
Assistant trainer Carl Llewellyn said: “Bristol De Mai is in really good form.
“We’ve been pleased with his work at home and he’s had a good preparation. The wet weather is perfect for him as most of his best form has been on soft and heavy ground.
“In many ways it looks like he needs soft ground, so the worse the ground is, the better his chance.”
Double Shuffle was declared a non-runner in the Gold Cup on the morning of the race after failing to eat up.
He was previously beaten by just a length by Might Bite in the King George.
Trainer Tom George said: “His preparation has gone well and he seems fresh and well. We’re very happy with him going into the race and obviously he ran very well in the King George. Let’s see if he can back that up.”
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