Nicky Henderson expects to find out next week if Might Bite’s bleed in the King George VI Chase was caused by an infection.
Winner of the race 12 months ago and subsequently second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he has disappointed on both his starts this season.
Henderson said on Friday: “Horses bleed, what can you do? It is obviously significant under the circumstances.
“I scoped him at Haydock as he was disappointing there and he didn’t bleed there, so it is not like he has done it before. It might just be he has an infection in there.
“Monday, I would say, we will probably give him a canter and then take a trach wash and take something out of the lungs to send to the laboratory to have it tested, and that will tell you if he has an infection, which would then cause the bleed.
“It really depends what we find out. If we find out he has a bug or infection in there, you have three weeks of doing antibiotics.
“He was enjoying himself tanking along, then he made a mistake and stopped rather quickly, which is unlike him. Bleeding is not a good thing, but there was nothing to see, it was just a trickle.
“It was significant enough to stop him. They grade it out of five and it was two and a half/three, not what we call a red out. The simplest thing would be to find an infection, then you clear that up and clear the bleeding up as well.”
Asked about future targets, Henderson said: “Nico (de Boinville) was (thinking about Ryanair Chase), but that was a 30-second discussion down the walkway. He thinks he is better when he is letting him bowl along. He has not quite got his fluency into him the way he did.
“We’ve got work to do and that’s our job. It is worrying and disappointing, but they’ve come back before and we can do it.”