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Horse Racing - Racing: Sandown next for Shishkin

Nicky Henderson will target Shishkin at the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown next month following his disappointing effort in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old was out of sorts on Wednesday but is 4/1 to make amends and win next year's Champion Chase back at Cheltenham.

Owned by Joe and Marie Donelly, Shishkin was the odds-on favourite to maintain his perfect record over fences in the 2m Grade 1 on Wednesday, having won both the Desert Orchid Chase and Clarence House Chase this season, but was pulled up after the eighth fence having never travelled.

The race was won by his old rival Energumene, who Shishkin had battled to beat in a thrilling race at Ascot in January.

Aintree was a possibility

A step up in trip to 2m4f for the Melling Chase at Aintree's Grand National meeting next month had been initially mooted as a plan for Shishkin, as well as a possible trip to the Punchestown Festival to take on Energumene in a thrilling trilogy duel.

However, Henderson will target getting his stable star back to winning ways at Sandown instead in the bet365 Celebration Chase on 23rd April and bid to end his campaign on a winning note on the final day of the season.

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Shishkin's rivals at Sandown could include Tingle Creek Chase hero and last year's Celebration Chase winner Greaneteen, the Dan Skelton-trained Nube Negra and Queen Mother Champion Chase second Funambule Sivola.

'Absolutely fine'

Henderson said: "Shishkin is absolutely fine. I was more thinking about the Celebration Chase at Sandown and still two miles.

He said: "I would have thought the ground was the problem in the Champion Chase, but Sandown should suit on better ground."

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