Nicky Henderson has revealed Might Bite will not run again until the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and will have his palate cauterised in the meantime.
Last season’s King George winner and Gold Cup runner-up has disappointed twice in this campaign, in the Betfair Chase and then in defence of his Kempton crown on Boxing Day.
Henderson carried out numerous tests – and while the 10-year-old has not been making a noise, another breathing procedure has been decided upon.
Speaking in his Unibet blog, Henderson said: “I was pretty sure his performance at Haydock could be put down to other things – but it appears that possibly it all comes down to the same thing, so after many, many discussions with all the relevant professionals, we have decided to cauterise his palate.
“It is exactly the same procedure we did in 2016, along with him being hobdayed, which is all in place and perfectly all right – once it’s done, it’s done, but the cauterisation is not guaranteed to last forever. Therefore we can do it again.
“We have not heard any noises – but after considerable discussions with our experts, they suggest this may be the best course of action. It is not a 100% ‘cure’ – but eight times out of 10 it is respiratory, so it makes perfect sense to go ahead with the procedure, which will happen today.”
He went on: “Timing-wise, we are absolutely fine – he’ll miss less than two weeks’ work, which shouldn’t hold him back too much because he’s already race fit. But it would almost certainly rule him out of running in anything before the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He didn’t run again between Kempton and the Gold Cup last year, so it shouldn’t make any difference again.
“As I’ve said before, our only priority is his health and well-being – and should there be anything else to report, we’ll update accordingly.”