Horse racing news Monday 5th February 2018

Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Might Bite will skip Newbury on Saturday and head straight to the Festival. Nicky Henderson had been contemplating running the King George winner in the Denman Chase and a possible clash with other Gold Cup-bound horses.

However, Might Bite's part-owner David Minton told Press Association Sport: "As far as I was concerned he was never really going to run this weekend, it was just at the back of our minds in case Nicky felt he needed another run. Nicky has basically always been happy to go straight there with him. We've seen several potential rivals fail to boost their claims and he's shortened up a bit without running. I suppose Sizing John is the main danger. It depends whether Jessie (Harrington) can get him back to his best or not, but we're heading there on the back of a win. There's no one better than Nicky to produce a horse right for the big day."

Queen Mother Champion Chase ante-post favourite Altior is in line to make his eagerly awaited reappearance in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on Saturday, as long as the ground is suitable. Trainer Nicky Henderson reports last season's Arkle Trophy winner, who has had wind surgery, ready to return to the fray in the two-mile Grade Two, registered as the Game Spirit Chase. Henderson tweeted: "Altior has been given an entry for @NewburyRacing on Saturday and the intention is very much to run. His work has been good and we're very happy. We'll keep an eye on the weather but if it stays Good to Soft/Soft, he'll be declared."

Samcro stylishly maintained his 100 per cent record in the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday (Sunday). He is now 5-1 for the Supreme and a shade odds-on for the longer Ballymore Novices Hurdle which is surely the race they will go for. 

The National Hunt fixtures at Sedgefield and Market Rasen on Tuesday must pass course inspections on raceday morning.