32Red King George VI Chase
|Grade 1, Kempton Park 15:15
3m, Class 1
|Wednesday 26th December 2018|
Nicky Henderson's Might Bite was sent off the evens favourite on his seasonal reappearance in Saturday’s Grade One Betfair Chase – a race billed as the rematch between him and his Cheltenham Gold Cup conqueror Native River.
But Might Bite and Nico de Boinville could only trail in a 29-length last behind course specialist Bristol De Mai, who beat Native River four lengths into second.
Henderson reports nothing untoward has come to light in terms of significant injury, and Might Bite therefore remains on course for the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day – for which he is still a 7-2 favourite.
The Lambourn trainer told Racing UK: “He’s fine. It was a bit of a bombshell, but he’s perfectly sound and bright – and there are no injuries anyway, no reason for it behind that.”
There is almost exactly a month until Might Bite must be back on his A game to see off challengers for his Christmas crown.
Henderson concedes it ‘went to pieces’ when faced with fences at Haydock which resulted in seven fallers in Saturday’s three other chase races and have attracted criticism for being, in the assessment of de Boinville, ‘too stiff and unfair’.
As part of the de-brief, however, Henderson has already consulted schooling and jumping guru Yogi Breisner, and is reassured about the way forward.
“Watching it again – not making excuses – I had a long chat with Yogi Breisner an hour ago, because he’s a great assessor of these things, understands what jumping is all about, there’s no doubt to me the fences were big and they were very solid,” said the champion trainer.
“We’ll work out together how we just put his confidence together and I’m not worried about that,” he said.
“Noel Fehily came and schooled him on Monday, and he was brilliant. But our fences aren’t quite what we were jumping yesterday.
“He’s such a good jumper. But it’s all about confidence, and I just think he lost it.”
Ruth Jefferson reports Waiting Patiently to be “absolutely bouncing” ahead of his intended return to Kempton.
After bypassing the Cheltenham Festival, a setback prevented him from running at Aintree in April.
The same injury delayed his return to training, meaning he is in line to make his belated seasonal reappearance in the Boxing Day highlight.
Jefferson said: “Everything is going according to plan – I couldn’t be happier with him, to be honest.
“He’s absolutely bouncing at the moment, so fingers crossed they get some rain at Kempton and we’ll be there.
“There are still one or two things to do – we haven’t schooled him yet for instance, but hopefully we’ll do that next week or the week after.”
Earlier this week Waiting Patiently received entries over two miles and three miles at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.
However, Jefferson insists Kempton is very much his preferred destination.
32Red King George VI Chase
£250,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1
19 remaining entries
|111/111-||Altior (IRE) 242||8||11-10||N J Henderson|
|1154-2P||Black Corton (FR) 25||7||11-10||P F Nicholls|
|11632-1||Bristol De Mai (FR) 32||7||11-10||N A Twiston-Davies|
|4/2123-4||Clan Des Obeaux (FR) 32||6||11-10||P F Nicholls|
|123/PP-3||Coneygree 39||11||11-10||M Bradstock|
|33131/1-||Disko (FR) 417||7||11-10||N Meade|
|323P23/||Don Poli (IRE) 682||9||11-10||G Elliott|
|22274-F||Double Shuffle (IRE) 53||8||11-10||T R George|
|1/1121-5||Might Bite (IRE) 32||9||11-10||N J Henderson|
|113/11-2||Native River (IRE) 32||8||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|2PP8-23||Outlander (IRE) 53||10||11-10||G Elliott|
|11241-1||Politologue (FR) 32||7||11-10||P F Nicholls|
|6/1114-1||Saint Calvados (FR) 46||5||11-10||H Whittington|
|11125-2||Shattered Love (IRE) 53||7||11-3||G Elliott|
|233P-11||Sizing Tennessee (IRE) 25||10||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|43P76-P||Tea For Two 220||9||11-10||Mrs J Williams|
|112/54-3||Thistlecrack 32||10||11-10||C L Tizzard|
|3/31141-||Top Notch (FR) 242||7||11-10||N J Henderson|
|111/111-||Waiting Patiently (IRE) 312||7||11-10||Ruth Jefferson|