Might Bite should have favourable ground conditions in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday. The horse has the form to win the first leg of the three major staying chases series that offers a one million pound bonus for any horse that wins each race. The other two most prestigious chases are the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Might Bite has the scope, class and stamina to prevail on the three different courses and win the bonus. Gold Cup winner Native River is his nearest rival in the betting for the Betfair Chase.
The Gold Cup in March developed into virtually a two horse race from the start. Native River led for most of the race but Might Bite looked like overhauling the horse in the straight. Might Bite actually went ahead but Native River outstayed his rival up the hill. The Haydock race is the first time since that day that the horses have clashed but on this occasion Might Bite will be more suited to the ground. The betting market has reacted to the projected good going which suits Might Bite’s style of running. The horse can win the first stage of the treble which brings the huge financial reward.
Kauto Star is the only horse to win all three races in the same season when the bonus was on offer. Cue Card won the first two qualifying contests three years ago but then fell late on in the Gold Cup when looking like the winner. It’s such a tough ask because the three courses that stage the races are different. Haydock is flat and left-handed, Kempton is flat and right handed and Cheltenham is undulating and right handed. A horse must possess stamina and speed to handle the three courses over three miles to three miles and two furlongs.
Politologue has the required attributes but the horse misses the Betfair Chase in favour of a Grade 2 chase at Ascot over two miles and five furlongs. The long term target is the Gold Cup so the horse could be tried over three miles for the first time in the King George, pending a good run at Ascot. Politologue is owned by John Hales who made his money from the Teletubbies. Hales also owned One Man who didn’t have the stamina to win the Gold Cup but did win the King George. He won the Grand National with Neptune Collonges in 2012 but now wants a Gold Cup. Politologue’s run at the weekend will tell us if he has a contender in 2019.
Might Bite is trained by Nicky Henderson who also looked after Sprinter Sacre. That horse won two Champion Chases and was one of the highest rated jumpers over the last ten years. Henderson believes Might Bite is in the same class which is a testimony to his ability. If the trainer is correct his horse should be beating Native River off level weights on a flat track on good going. Might Bite was an impressive winner of the Betfair Bowl at Aintree in April in similar conditions. After the Betfair Chase only one horse can win the bonus. Intended runner, Bristol De Mai, won the race last year but could not complete the treble which is within the scope of Might Bite.