RSA: Bizarre and brilliant Might Bite wins
Might Bite: wandered all over the place after the last
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos) Bizarre and brilliant Might Bite wins RSA By David Carr 2:25PM 15 MAR 2017
Report: Cheltenham, Wednesday
RSA Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m½f, 5yo+
LONG-TIME ante-post favourite Might Bite rewarded his backers in the RSA Novices' Chase but he made them sweat in the most dramatic of finishes.
He had looked the most likely winner of the staying novice chasers' championship ever since falling at the last fence when about to bolt up in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton over Christmas, and the Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old appeared set to win in style for much of the way.
He was soon in front under Nico de Boinville, had shaken off his nearest pursuers by three out and was 20 lengths clear turning for home.
But the last fence nearly did for him once more.
He brushed through the top, lost his momentum and wandered markedly to the right up the long run-in.
The 7-2 favourite was actually headed by Davy Russell on stablemate Whisper – Might Bite hitting an in-running high of 34 with Whisper a low of 1.02 – but he then rallied gamely to force a photo-finish at the line and after an anxious wait he was announced the winner by a nose, with Bellshill third.
"We thought he has done it all well and then he goes and does that!" Henderson said.
"As we've always been saying, this place does extraordinary things and it's extraordinary he got back up. My first feeling is a dead-heat would be a fair result, but really it wouldn't have been as Might Bite was the best horse."
It gave Henderson his third victory at this year's festival, following Altior and Buveur d'Air on Tuesday. H8s last RSA Chase winner was Bobs Worth (2012), who returned to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following year.
Dai Walters, who owns runner-up Whisper, said: "It was his day a couple of years back in the Coral Cup. There were only a couple of inches in it that day and I think there was half an inch in it there.
"I thought he had it up the run-in and I've lost my voice, to be honest with you. It's of great credit to Nicky, he was out of form last year but he's got them back this time around."
More to follow . . .