Four Nicky Henderson horses who benefited from wind surgery
Nicky Henderson has announced that last season's King George hero and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite is to have his soft palate re-cauterised after two below-par efforts this term.
Going back to February last year, the champion trainer has a 40 per cent strike-rate with horses running for the first time since wind surgery. Here are four high-profile Henderson horses who have benefited from wind ops . . .
The 2017 Racing Post Arkle winner was set to make his reappearance in last season's Tingle Creek when Henderson announced the discovery of a breathing problem, with treatment to cure the issue keeping him off the track possibly until March. That meant a race against time to get the son of High Chaparral ready for the Champion Chase. However he recovered quickly enough to make the Game Spirit in early February and duly thrashed the Tingle Creek victor Politologue.
By the time Cheltenham came around, breathing problems were a distant memory and he duly landed the Champion Chase by an impressive seven lengths.
While a wind op worked for Altior, his illustrious stablemate, Buveur D'Air, was another to feel the benefit.
After a slightly underwhelming victory in last season's Champion Hurdle, the eight-year-old underwent a routine wind operation over the summer.
An eight-length defeat of Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner Samcro in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle was the result and elevated JP McManus's star to a career-best official rating of 172 (from 169).
Despite a narrow loss at the hands of talented stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle, the seven-time Grade 1 winner is on course to bid for a record-equalling third Champion Hurdle in March.
The dual Champion Chase hero, perhaps the finest chaser ever to set foot at Seven Barrows, was also a fine prospect over hurdles and a strong fancy for the Supreme Novices' back in 2011. However, after tanking to the front, the great horse folded up the hill in a vintage renewal won by Al Ferof. Afterwards a wind problem – of similar nature to Alitor's – was found and corrected.
Sprinter then went over fences, taking to them like a duck to water and becoming one of the finest specimens ever seen in National Hunt racing. After his 19-length victory over Sizing Europe in the 2013 Champion Chase, the official handicapper allotted him a rating of 188 – the second-highest figure ever given in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification.
Christopher Hanbury's smart performer was another to undergo wind surgery over the summer after a winless season last term, and was rewarded with a half-length victory over Go Conquer in a Class 2 handicap at Doncaster in December.
The son of Flemensfirth finished second in two Grade 1 novice hurdles earlier in his career but produced his joint-top RPR (155) following the surgery.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com