Shishkin: Twice Cheltenham Festival winner will be targeted at the Desert Orchid Chase
Michael Steele (Getty Images)
By James Burn, Lambourn Correspondent
Fans of Shishkin, who may well be Britain’s best chance to avoid another money laundering championship at the Cheltenham Festival, will have to wait to see Nicky Henderson’s stable star, who will bypass the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase in Sandown next week in favor of a crack at Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase in Kempton on December 27th.
Henderson, who coaches the thrilling seven-year-old for Joe and Marie Donnelly, stressed that his two-time festival hero was not injured, but had not quite reached the required climax for Sandown’s prestigious Class 1, which he had spearheaded.
Chacun Pour Soi now occupies that spot, though Shishkin remains Betfair and Paddy Power’s 7-4 favorite for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in Cheltenham in March. These odds make him the cheapest British runner for the event’s four main events, all of which were won by Irish horses last season.
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
“title =” Shishkin and Jaydon Lee gallop up the hill on a cold, bright morning at Seven Barrows “class =” js-imageLoader “data-at-xn =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/ news / 2021/11/24/101411-medium.jpeg “data-br-n =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2021/11/24/101411-medium.jpeg “data -br-m = “https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2021/11/24/101411-large.jpeg” data-br-w = “https: //www.rp-assets .com / images / news / 2021/11/24/101411-large.jpeg “data-br-xw =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2021/11/24/101411- large.jpeg “onclick =” return false; “>
Shishkin and Jaydon Lee gallop up the hill one cold, bright morning at Seven Barrows
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Shishkin, who won the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle before conquering Arkle in the spring under regular rider Nico de Boinville, has yet to find concert pitch this fall, and Henderson is noticing a pre-season breathing operation and the dry weather in Lambourn that have prevented him in using his grass gallops are contributing factors.
“There’s nothing wrong, but Nico and I feel he is not quite there,” he said Wednesday.
Betfair Tingle Creek Chase racecard and betting
“He’s never been a brilliant workhorse, and that makes life pretty hard to judge him, while I would love to have been able to work him on grass, and he was not ready to go to Newbury for their gallop morning last week.
“I would have liked to have gone after it, and if I could have got him there, it might have been different, but he had a wind operation during the summer, and that puts them four weeks back, and I’ve probably been on it. back foot ever since. “
Henderson, who retired star-two-mile Altior in September, added: “Shishkin just has not quite come, it’s as simple as that. He had a brilliant summer and looks a million dollars now, as you can see from Ed Whitaker the picture on the front page of the Racing Post this morning, from the time he galloped on Monday.
“He’s fit enough, but I just do not feel he sparks enough and does not quite give us all the right vibes I want to see. He is not injured – we do not gallop to injured horses. He is okay, but Nico and I’m not 100 percent happy with where he is and you can not drive them when they are like that.
“If I were to get him to Sandown this Saturday week, I would have to chase him and I would ask if I could go to Newbury this weekend. [to exercise him] and I would push it, and I will not. “
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com)
“title =” Nicky Henderson: “We would like to be at Sandown, but it’s not the right thing to do” “class =” js-imageLoader “data-at-xn =” https: //www.rp-assets. com /images/news/2020/01/28/74572-medium.jpeg “data-br-n =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2020/01/28/74572-medium . jpeg “data-br-m =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2020/01/28/74572-large.jpeg “data-br-w =” https: // www. rp-assets.com/images/news/2020/01/28/74572-large.jpeg “data-br-xw =” https://www.rp-assets.com/images/news/2020/01/28 /74572-large.jpeg “onclick =” return false; “>
Nicky Henderson: “We would like to be in Sandown, but that’s not the right thing to do”
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com)
Instead, Henderson looks to the desert orchid to get Shishkin’s comeback.
“We probably won’t gallop him this weekend and just want to check everything out, but he’s 100 percent healthy, while his wind is 100 percent too,” he said.
“We know what we’re dealing with and Joe Donnelly is amazing and said, ‘You know him and you do what’s best for the horse.’
“And the best thing for the horse is not to be chased – I had to put the gun to his head a little too much to get him there on Saturday.
“It’s better to make the decision now and give ourselves a chance to get him back to the Desert Orchid in Kempton.
“It’s no worries to get him there, but he’s just not where we want him to be at the moment.”
Henderson Hall of Fame’s Sprinter Sacre and Altior were Tingle Creek winners for the six-time champion trainer, who added: “We would like to be in Sandown, but that’s not the right thing to do. I’m not trying to keep him to anything. , but he’s not where I want him and Nico feels the same.
“He rode him to work last Saturday and we’ve discussed it. It was okay – I have the film of that gallop and you can hardly say there was anything wrong – but he’s just not there and it is. difficult to assess him.especially when working in all kinds of weather, not the grass.
“I have no doubt that a few pieces of work on the grass would have aroused him just as well as me.”
Comment: racing requires daring coaches – not Nicky Henderson’s abundance of caution
Wednesday’s news that Shishkin would miss next week’s tingle Creek Chase at Sandown did not exactly send shock waves through the sport at the level of Vautour, who missed the 2016 Gold Cup. In fact, it caused little more than an annoying roll of the eyes and a stream of jokes on social media. It was all just predictable.
Nicky Henderson obviously has a story in this Sandown race when he pulled Altior back on the threshold of last year’s race on the grounds that it – officially soft – was not right for his legendary chaser despite the horse having won six times on such. land. In Henderson’s defense, these circumstances are different, as this time he has given players ample warning, revealing Shishkin’s absence ten days out of the race.
But this has become a pattern of ample caution that does the sport no favors. Racehorses are there to race, but Hendersons rarely does, especially outside of his beloved Cheltenham Festival. For Shishkin this week, read Champ last week, Altior last year and several others in between.
In any case, Henderson had his reasons for not running. But this sport needs its leading lights, and therefore it needs its leading coaches to conduct a brave campaign rather than insist that the stars must always be perfectly in line before sending them to the pitch. Dylan Hill, premium editor
Read this next:
Denman: ‘He could pick you up and throw you out of the box or take your arm off’
Win the ultimate Cheltenham Festival experience in the Racing Post Christmas Countdown. You and three friends could travel to the festival in the style of helicopter transport from your hotel. Simply place a bet on the Racing Post app this Friday to enter the prize draw, plus there are weekly prizes to be won. Find out all the details here.