Henderson plotting familiar path for Shishkin
Nicky Henderson has reported star chaser Shishkin to be in rude health following his return to training and attempt to follow in the footsteps of the great Altior in the two-mile division, starting with a potential tilt at the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.
Shishkin is expected to be heading to the Cheltenham Festival next spring and is currently priced at 2.50 to win the Champion Chase, 11.00 for Ryanair Chase glory and 21.00 to claim the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old dominated the two-mile novice chase division last year, easing to victory in five starts including an impressive 12-length success in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, before concluding his season with another top-level win at the Grand National meeting in April.
Following the recent retirement of two-time Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Altior at Seven Barrows, it is expected that Shishkin will pick up the baton as Henderson's new two-mile chasing king, with his first season in open company set to begin in the Grade 1 at the Esher track on 4th December.
His rivals could include last year's winner Politologue, Greaneteen and possibly the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene before following the usual route many Henderson stars like Altior and Sprinter Sacre followed to the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.
Henderson said: "He's grown and I think he's got that arrogance of Sprinter and Altior, although he's got to earn that. You can be arrogant only when you are the top dog and he's got to prove it, but he's got through the Supreme and Arkle and we'll look at the Tingle Creek and the usual two-mile path. He'd get further, but I don't see the need now."
He added: "The one thing about the two-mile division, with Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi, is it's going to be extremely hot, but Shishkin is going the right way and he's done phenomenally well over the summer."