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Shishkin wins at Newbury: How will Shishkin go in the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Published on February 12, 2024
Updated on February 14, 2024
Christopher
Written by Christopher

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Shishkin wins at Newbury: How will Shishkin go in the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
  • Shishkin bounces back with win
  • 10-year-old currently 9/1 for Gold Cup with bet365
  • Henderson and Mullins set to lock horns at Cheltenham in March

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Shishkin wins at Newbury to highlight Gold Cup credentials

Shishkin, trained by Nicky Henderson, fought back from earlier setbacks to clinch a significant victory in the Denman Chase at Newbury, thrusting himself into contention for the upcoming Cheltenham Gold Cup. The road to victory was arduous, with Shishkin unseating jockey Nico de Boinville at Kempton in the previous outing and showing reluctance to race at Ascot.

However, the resilient 10-year-old, entered as the 8-11 favourite, demonstrated his mettle by outlasting competitors Hitman and Protektorat in a hard-fought battle. De Boinville, reflecting on the win, expressed optimism about Shishkin’s potential, affirming that there’s more to come from the talented horse.

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Questions loomed over Shishkin’s form following a stumble during the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, where victory seemed within grasp before misfortune struck. Yet, in the Denman Chase, Shishkin showcased his capabilities by navigating the course smoothly, save for a minor early error. He shadowed Protektorat closely, seizing the lead at the penultimate fence and galloping to victory with a commanding four-and-a-quarter length lead.

De Boinville emphasised the intricacies of understanding Shishkin’s temperament, highlighting the importance of keeping the horse engaged and content throughout the race. Henderson, relieved by Shishkin’s performance, acknowledged the significance of the Denman Chase as a developmental milestone, affirming control over the horse’s behaviour.

The Henderson-Boinville duo celebrated a double victory with Iberico Lord’s triumph in the Betfair Hurdle, while Edwardstone, under the guidance of jockey Tom Cannon and trainer Alan King, dominated the Game Spirit Chase with an impressive 40-length lead over competitors.

Shishkin could be a good each-way bet in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He  is currently 9/1 with bet365, behind the Willie Mullins trained favourite Galopin Des Champs, 4/6 and Martin Brassil’s Fastorslow 9/2.

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Constitution Hill and State Man gearing up for Champion Hurdle showdown

Henderson chose not to send any of his horses to the Dublin Racing Festival last week. However, the six -time British jump racing Champion Trainer was at Leopardstown on a watching brief and witnessed a Mullins masterclass. Mullins, the only trainer with more Cheltenham winners than Henderson, took nine victories out of 15 races across the weekend and, even more impressively, took a clean sweep in the eight Grade 1 races.

Henderson paid tribute to the performance of his rival, and emphasised that he is looking forward to locking horns with Mullins at Cheltenham.

The highlight of Mullins’ five wins on the Sunday was the performance of State Man in the Irish Champion Hurdle where he successfully defended his title. State Man’s only loss over obstacles was against Henderson’s Constitution Hill in last year’s Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and the stage is set for an intriguing rematch in March.

Henderson stated at the time: “I thought we saw a lot of impressive performances yesterday – State Man was, El Fabiolo was, and so was Ballyburn in the novice hurdle. We’re going to have to take all of them on in five weeks’ time; we’re involved in all the races they’ll be going for, so we’ll just have to give it a go and probably take our medicine.”

Constitution Hill has raced sparingly this season, his latest win coming in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. He was pulled out of the Unibet (International) Hurdle at Cheltenham due to an unsatisfactory scope. Henderson will now be looking to ensure that his top horse is fit and sharp for the Cheltenham Festival.

Giving an update in his progress Henderson said: “He’s just starting  build-up. We haven’t scoped him again recently; he’ll do that after he’s done a bit of faster work, probably. He’s fine; we’ve got five weeks to go, and we know where we are.”

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Cheltenham Festival Antepost Odds

The latest Antepost odds for the Cheltenham Festival make Henderson’s Constitution Hill and Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs strong favourites for the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup respectively. And in the Champion Hurdle Mullins’ State Man looks to be the main rival, while Henderson’s Shishkin is a candidate to upset the odds should the favourite falter.

Horse Racing
GB Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
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Horse Racing
Cheltenham Gold Cup
GB Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
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Odds correct at the time of writing.Odds subject to change.

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Christopher

Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives.

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