Unbeaten chaser Shishkin is considered to be one of the best horses in training today in the UK and Ireland. Nicky Henderson’s runner enhanced his reputation further with victory in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
The British-trained horse came up against Irish star Energumene for the first time at Ascot and a clash between the two talented horses did not disappoint. As expected, Energumene made the running in the Grade One contest over 2m and up until the home straight, and looked set to maintain his 100% record.
Shishkin showed how tough he was in his latest test as he made a couple of errors over his fences, and had ground to make up in the closing stages. Under the hands of his usual pilot Nico de Boinville, he powered home strongly to reel in his rival and prevail by a length.
Last season’s Arkle winner is now 4/6 in the horse racing betting online for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Henderson’s star chaser is expected to meet Energumene again in that race in what could prove to be one of the duels of the meeting
Victory in 2m Chase Feature will See Shishkin Add His Name Alongside Greats
Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior have been some of the best 2m chasers in the sport over the past three decades. All four of those horses have won the Champion Chase, so in order to match what they have achieved, Shishkin now needs to prove himself in the race.
The majority of the chaser’s seven wins over fences have been comfortable successes. He won the Arkle at the Festival in 2021 by 12 lengths. A month later, another Grade One win came at Aintree during the Grand National meeting.
In order to be established as one of the greatest 2m chasers in history, Shishkin will need to win the premier 2m chase more than once. At the age of just eight, he has time on his side. If he continues to produce performances like he is doing, he is likely to dominate the division for some time.
Champion Chase Could Be one of Strongest in Recent Years
Although the headlines leading into this year’s Champion Chase will be dominated by Shishkin and Energumene, it is more than just about those two horses. One of the forgotten entries could be Chacun Pour Soi. The Irish horse from Willie Mullins’ yard has won five Grade One races over fences in Ireland.
The latest renewal of the Champion Chase could also see the two horses who were first and second in 2021. Defending champion Put The Kettle On has been disappointing in her two appearances this season, so Henry De Bromhead’s mare will need to bounce back.
It has been a mixed campaign for last season’s runner-up Nube Negra. He was victorious in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham, but then finished down the field in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. The eight-year-old remains open to improvement over fences.
This season’s Champion Chase will be the 62nd edition of feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.