Nicky Henderson announces retirement of Might Bite

Nicky Henderson has announced the retirement of 2017 King George VI Chase hero Might Bite.

While that performance at Kempton was no doubt his career highlight, he will also be remembered for the dramatic way in which he won the RSA Chase a season earlier when holding off stablemate Whisper by a nose.

Over 10 lengths clear jumping the last, Might Bite veered badly to his right up the run-in, giving Whisper a chance, only to pick up again in the final strides to cling on for victory.

He went on to be second in the 2018 Gold Cup to Native River, yet despite winning at Aintree that year he failed to reproduce that form in subsequent seasons.

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“It is a sad day at Seven Barrows as we have decided to call time on the career of Might Bite who has been retired after we came to the conclusion that perhaps he wasn’t enjoying his racing quite as much as the good old days,” Henderson told Unibet.

“But it’s great that he ends his life on the track a perfectly sound and happy person and on his own terms, which is the most important thing.

“It was an amazing journey, but not one without a few hiccups along the way and I suppose the most memorable would have been when he tried to visit the Guinness Village at Cheltenham en route to winning the RSA.

“That was a tremendous race, and a fine spectacle for everyone there that day, but what made it even more significant was that we had the second, Whisper, so I would have been happier if the judge had called a dead heat!”

Native River leads Might Bite over the last in the 2018 Gold Cup
Native River leads Might Bite over the last in the 2018 Gold Cup (David Davies/PA)
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Reflecting further, Henderson said: “He was one of the most amazing characters you’ll ever come across and was the most gorgeous looking horse you will ever see; he had so much presence about him and stood out more than anything else in the parade ring and was in the Sprinter Sacre sort of mould.

“In fact we pretty much purchased him on looks rather than anything else because at the time his sire, Scorpion, wasn’t as popular as he is now so we took a bit of a shot in the dark, but it was definitely worth it and he ended up winning just shy of £607,000 in prize-money and 10 of his 25 starts which is quite phenomenal.

“The highlight would have to be the King George in 2017 when he was simply marvellous and was never really going to get beaten that day because his confidence was so high and he was very much at the top of his game.”

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