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Might Bite – The most overrated horse in training?

Racing Tips Staff 27 Nov 2018
Nico de Boinville celebrate winning The 32Red King George VI Steeple Chase at Kempton.

We take a closer look at Might Bite and discuss whether Nicky Henderson’s chaser is the most overrated horse in training.

Might Bite’s performance in the Betfair Chase was simply too terrible to be believed. 

The short-priced favourite landed in a heap after seemingly every obstacle and when the time came to try and overhaul Bristol De Mai, Nico De Boinville’s mount found absolutely zilch, giving up the ghost with two furlongs of turf between himself and the winning post.

After the race, Nicky Henderson threw out a number of excuses. 

First, he claimed Might Bite had scared himself after jumping the first few fences – for which Haydock has been criticised for making excessively large – before lamenting the lack of rain in the build-up which meant he had been unable to school his top chaser sufficiently on grass. 

Whether you buy into Henderson’s reasoning or not, that performance does raise an important question – was Saturday just an off-day for Might Bite, or was it the performance of a horse who has is used to having everything his own way and got found out on the big stage?

Let’s start by analysing the evidence…

Might Bite ended his novice season with victories over Whisper at Cheltenham and Aintree. While Whisper is a fairly decent horse, Might Bite should really have seen his stablemate off in more commanding fashion and the handicapper’s decision to up his rating by 10 pounds now, in hindsight, seems rather excessive.

The same argument can be thrown at Might Bite’s King George victory last year, for which he was rewarded with a seven-pound rating hike. 

Market rivals Bristol De Mai, Fox Norton and Whisper severely underperformed. Double Shuffle, rated 11 pounds Might Bite’s inferior, managed to cross the line less than a length behind the idling winner - if that result had come in a match-race, would Might Bite have been bumped up 11 pounds? Certainly not.

If Bristol De Mai or Native River had suffered a 30-length defeat in the Betfair Chase, they would have drifted out of sight in the betting for the King George and the Gold Cup. Yet, Might Bite remains the 7/2 favourite to retain his Kempton crown with Betfair and retains his single-figure odds in the betting for the 2019 Gold Cup.

There’s no doubting the regard Might Bite is held within the sport is slightly inflated and he still has plenty to prove at the highest level. However, if we go back to the title of the article and ask ourselves whether he is indeed the most overrated horse around? The answer has to be, no.

I’ve been picking holes in his form leading up to last year’s Gold Cup, but it’s hard to argue with Might Bite’s performances during the spring. 

Henderson’s charge ran a very good race in the Gold Cup before being bogged down by the ground and looked a class above Bristol De Mai and Clan Des Obeaux when cruising to victory in the Aintree Bowl.

Might Bite’s defeat this weekend has, undoubtedly, put Nicky Henderson and his team on the back-foot and it will take a tremendous training effort to get the Kempton king in tip-top shape as he returns to defend his crown next month. 

Only time will tell whether he will be able to retain the King George trophy and gain Gold Cup redemption, but I’m prepared to give both Might Bite and Nicky Henderson a second chance and write that Betfair Chase display off as a very, very bad day at the office.

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Might Bite – The most overrated horse in training?

We take a closer look at Might Bite and discuss whether Nicky Henderson’s chaser is the most overrated horse in training.

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