NICKY Henderson admits Gold Cup favourite Might Bite has the most to prove of his big race challengers heading to the Cheltenham Festival next month.

Lambourn trainer Henderson sees his charges lead the betting in the three biggest races at British horse racing’s annual blue riband meeting in Gloucestershire, which gets under way on March 13.

As well as Might Bite being the current favourite for the most coveted prize of all, Henderson will also send out Buveur D’Air odds-on to retain his Champion Hurdle crown and Altior as the fancied charge in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Although all three were triumphant at the Festival 12 months ago, Henderson concedes Might Bite is the horse with the stiffest path to glory.

Speaking at his pre-meeting media day at his Seven Barrows yard yesterday, the reigning National Hunt racing champion trainer is taking nothing for granted, having experienced Festival disappointment as part of the staff alongside legendary trainer Fred Winter when travelling with what seemed a similarly strong squad in 1973.

“Of those three, I think Might Bite probably has the most to prove. I hope he can whereas those other boys have been there and they are proven,” said Henderson.

“Might Bite has got to prove the trip and we have got to make sure no funny quirks develop.

“I read the other day – and probably didn’t need reminding – that during my days with Fred, in the one year we had the three favourites, guess what happened?

“The Dikler beat Pendle (in the Gold Cup), Inkslinger beat Crisp (in the Champion Chase) and Comedy or Errors beat Bula (in the Champion Hurdle).

“You went in with three favourites and came out with zilch. That is the position we are in.”

The three big race favourites headline a hefty team set to travel to Prestbury Park from Seven Barrows, with Henderson likely to have close to 40 horses in action at the Festival.

Henderson is likely to lead the British challenge for the Leading Trainer award at the four-day meeting, looking to break a five-year Irish stranglehold on the prize.

Gordon Elliott led the way 12 months ago after four successive triumphs for Willie Mullins but Henderson says it is fruitless to fret over the strength of his rivals and instead his sole concern is making sure his own contingent is in the best place possible.

“These races are going to very, very competitive whatever turns up,” said Henderson.

“Our job is to concentrate on what we are doing, there is no point me worrying about what Willie is doing, what Gordon is doing or what Paul (Nicholls) is doing.

“We have got to keep our heads down for three more weeks and try to make sure we don’t make any mistakes, we get everything right and cross our fingers we don’t get any hiccups.

“If every single one of the 40-odd we are thinking about actually make it, it will be a miracle because they won’t. You know something will go and tread on a stone or trip on something – anything can happen.

“We have just got to concentrate on what we are doing. As to what the opposition is like, we know it is going to be very, very competitive.”