I WANT Might Bite tested over two miles with a Champion Chase bid in mind.
More of that later, but I just had to get it off my chest!
“Cheers to a New Year (in a few days) and another chance for us to get it right.”
So said Oprah Winfrey and every punter in the land.
To bang my own drum, for once, I think this column held its own in 2018.
While not every nap went in, more were landed than some might have expected.
But that’s history. In 2019 the aim should be to do better, in whatever one does.
For racing enthusiasts, the first three months of the year are dominated by Cheltenham.
The Festival will be on every one of our lips until March 15, Gold Cup day. Until Wednesday, two of the main events looked simple. The other two anything but.
A third Champion Hurdle was surely in the grasp of Buveur D’Air, who had just begun to get the recognition he seemed to deserve, until his Christmas Hurdle defeat.
I’m happy I suggested Samcro each-way for the 2019 Champion after his defeat at Newcastle.
As far as the Champion Chase is concerned, right now it’s hard to believe the race is worth running.
Altior is in a league of his own, and arguably one of the best we have seen, although his running style denies him a superstar rating.
It was business as usual for him in the Desert Orchid Chase on Thursday. That’s the easy part.
But what about the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle? There is no Big Buck’s or Inglis Drever on the scene and it’s a minefield trying to work out who might take the prize.
Penhill is the defending champion but he has not raced since a Punchestown defeat by Faugheen.
And the Willie Mullins-trained star holds no entries other than for the Festival.
Maybe up-and-coming Paisley Park is worth a few quid each-way for Emma Lavelle.
This time last year I wrote this about the Gold Cup: “For some time now I have been hooked up with Native River after his fine effort to be placed last season.”
It was fantastic to be right three months beforehand and I think I have the 2019 renewal sorted!
Guess what? It’s the same horse. Native River ran a cracking race in the King George VI Chase when jumping left on a right-handed track that is too sharp.
He’s going to take some stopping once again.
That said, Wednesday’s Kempton hero Clan des Obeaux has not got the credit he deserves.
Yes, we all need to see him do it again but, aged almost seven, he’s very much a rising star.
So what about Might Bite? Well first of all he bled in the King George, so that effort has to be ignored.
But I can tell you this for nothing. Might Bite will never win the Gold Cup. He’s just not got the guts and stamina.
In my book he’s actually too classy to win it.
If I owned Might Bite I would ask Nicky Henderson to prepare him for the Champion Chase.
There will be a small field for the two-mile showpiece and Might Bite has every chance of jumping for fun and getting loose on the lead. Added to that, his mid-race flow could just get Altior out of his comfort zone.
Of course, Might Bite’s owners may just settle for the Ryanair.
And there is another sticking point in that Henderson also trains Altior. It would be like the Enable/Cracksman clash that never happened. But I have no doubt Might Bite is more Remittance Man than Long Run.
Well everyone, I hope your 2018 was a good one.
Mine started on a high by getting the Dancing On Ice gig, only to be out after one episode. That’s life. Ups and downs.
All I can do is wish you all the best, and thank those at ITV, At The Races, soon to be revamped as Sky Sports Racing, and the Sun who support me.
To all of you, have a fabulous New Year.