SHISHKIN is ‘bright and breezy’ ahead of his mouth watering rematch with Energumene.
Nicky Henderson provided the latest on his stable star with a little over three weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival.
Shishkin is odds-on to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham
Jockey Nico de Boinville has ridden him to all 11 of his wins
Unbeaten superstar Shishkin is the current 8-11 favourite with Paddy Power for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
He will lock horns once again with Energumene (3-1) after the pair fought out a thrilling finish to the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last month.
The eagerly anticipated clash has been billed as the race of the week at the four-day Festival, which kicks off on March 15.
Shishkin has won each of his completed starts over obstacles – the only time he has been beaten was when he fell on his hurdling debut back in December 2019.
He is already a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, having bagged the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2020 and the Arkle Novices’ Chase last term.
Henderson, who has saddled 70 Cheltenham winners during a long and successful career, will begin putting the finishing touches to the horse in the coming weeks.
But he said the horse was in good nick with his big target on the horizon and that he had not shown any ill-effects from his tussle with Energumene at Ascot.
Henderson said: “It was a tough race, and you would expect them to have a little after effect, but he was bright and breezy straight away.
“He looked well, ate up and has been very straightforward since the Clarence House.
“He’s had a couple of quiet weeks after the race and is now back in pre-Cheltenham build up.
“He did a little bit of work on Wednesday and will have his first serious gallop since Ascot on Saturday. He will then do three bits of work in between and a couple of schools.”
The eight-year-old displayed his trademark finishing burst when running down Energumene in the Clarence House.
Some have called for the horse to step up in trip, but Henderson is happy to keep him at two-miles for the time being.
He added: “I’m not in a rush to go two and a half miles, but I have no doubt that he would get it if we ever had to ask him.
“If that’s what he says at the end of the day, that he needs to go another half a mile, then we will move him up.”
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