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Cheltenham: Henderson cool on Shishkin chances

Nicky Henderson insists Shishkin is by no means a certainty to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after his star performer began to put the finishing touches to his preparation.

The eight-year-old, who is 4/6 to win the Champion Chase, has yet to be beaten over fences and has been in inspired form this season, making an impressive comeback at Kempton over the festive period before bravely battling to success against Energumene in a Clarence House Chase epic at Ascot last month.

Expectations high for Shishkin

That thrilling win has seen him emerge as the leading light in the two-mile championship contest and will bid to maintain his perfect record at the Cheltenham Festival, having won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2020 before landing the Arkle Challenge Trophy last year.

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Duo set to renew rivalry

Shiskin is set to face his foe Energumene once more as well as his Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Chacun Pour Soi, while last year's second Nube Negra and Envoi Allen could also line up against him. You can follow the action via our Sports Live Streaming platform.

Henderson said: "There's no way he can be a banker. That [Clarence House Chase] was a fantastic race and everybody loved it bar Willie [Mullins] and me. It was great we came out in front, but there wasn't much in it and he had us in trouble."

He added: "Anything can happen. It's two months later, although going left-handed possibly helps us. There's not much in it. The Clarence House doesn't seem to have left a mark. He's in very good form. He hasn't schooled since - he doesn't need to, but will."

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