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Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Our analysts give their verdicts on the returns of Might Bite and Apple's Jade

Might Bite: impressed in his jumping when making a winning return at Sandown on Sunday
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Straightforward – at last – from Might Bite

Jon Lees, senior news reporter

Many adjectives have been used to describe Might Bite's performances since he switched to fences but the word 'straightforward' has not been one of them – until Sunday.

The RSA Chase winner and King George favourite enjoyed an uneventful workout in the course of making a winning comeback at Sandown in which his jumping was impeccable.

Having previously shown a capacity for the unpredictable it was only on the approach to and exit from the Pond fence that he appeared a little vulnerable, before striding away to a comfortable win.

If he can keep it that way at Kempton on Boxing Day he is the horse Thistlecrack and the rest have to beat, but since his connections assure us he has lost none of his personality that's not a given.

At Navan, Apple's Jade faced a similar task but made harder work of shaking off Jer's Girl. She did it the hard way from the front but with a race under her belt Gordon Elliott can surely look forward to her adding to last season's titles.

3-1 for Kempton is an absolute steal

Tom Collins, The Punt

Might Bite was excellent, wasn't he? He showed none of the quirks we all feared up the wide-open run-in at Sandown and barely touched a twig on the way round, eventually scoring in emphatic style.

He didn't exactly beat donkeys either, with dual Grade 2 scorer Frodon toiling back in second, and the 3-1 still available for the King George at Kempton looks an absolute steal. I'm pretty sure he'll go close in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, too.

Apple's Jade is one of the most consistent, top-level mares you'll see and she should provide Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown with a fair few big-race victories again this season.

However, I was slightly concerned with the way she jumped out to her right throughout the contest and the form probably isn't the strongest given Jer's Girl's Tipperary defeat last time out, but she could only beat what was in front of her.

The 5-2 for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle doesn't represent any value with four months to go until the race and main market rivals Let's Dance, Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag still to make their return to action.

The one to beat in King George

Tom Park, Ante-Post Focus

I was thoroughly impressed by Might Bite's performance. He looked, just for a second, like he might be in trouble but a shake of the reins from Nico de Boinville and he took off.

He will come on for that run and will be going to the King George fresher than those who run in the Betfair Chase on Saturday week.

He is certainly the one to beat at Kempton and is good value at 8-1 for the Gold Cup. He is already very good but we still have no idea how good Might Bite could actually be.

Apple's Jade took a bit of time to blossom last season and, while she won this contest with plenty in hand in the end, this will have blown the cobwebs away and I suspect she will keep getting better as the season progresses.

She is a mare of the highest class and I'd love connections to go for the Stayers' Hurdle, rather than the Mares', but I suspect she will go for the easier option.

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He looked, just for a second, like he might be in trouble but a shake of the reins from Nico de Boinville and he took off
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