Talking Horses: Shishkin set to shine in Tingle Creek

Jonbon can also strike Grade One glory for Nicky Henderson 
Talking Horses: Shishkin set to shine in Tingle Creek

Having surrendered his unbeaten record over fences in the Champion Chase, Shishkin is now on a comeback mission. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/PA Wire.

A week on from Constitution Hill’s spectacular performance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Shishkin can make it another super Saturday for Nicky Henderson by getting his career back on track in the Grade One Betfair Tingle Creek Chase.

A dual Cheltenham winner, Shishkin was strongly fancied to complete a Festival hat-trick when he lined up in the Champion Chase last March but it was soon apparent that something was amiss and he was pulled up after the eighth fence.

Coming just two months after a brilliant effort to reel in subsequent Champion Chase winner Energumene in the Clarence House at Ascot, his performance looked too bad to be true and it transpired that it was just that: A rare bone condition was to blame.

Henderson has given Shishkin plenty time to recover from that ailment and has reported his charge to be in fine fettle ahead of his eagerly-awaited return.

In Greaneteen, Shishkin faces a real Sandown specialist with match-fitness on his side having won the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter off top weight last month.

Greaneteen provided Paul Nicholls with a record-enhancing 12th Tingle Creek triumph when winning this race last year and looks sure to put up a bold defence of his crown.

Shishkin missed this engagement last year but he put Greaneteen firmly in his place when they clashed at Kempton last Christmas — 10 lengths separating the pair at the line.

On his favourite track, the expectation is Greaneteen will get a good deal closer this time but he lacks the star quality possessed by Shishkin and that class should see Henderson’s charge get back to winning ways.

Arkle hero Edwardstone won the Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase on this card last year but Alan King’s charge looks certain to find life tougher in open company this season. It’ll be a surprise if he finishes better than third here.

This year’s Henry VIII looks a penalty kick for Henderson’s Jonbon and it’ll be a huge surprise if the brother of Douvan fails to deliver in one of the weakest Grade One races on the National Hunt calender.

Love Envoi is very difficult to oppose in the Betfair Daily Rewards Handicap Hurdle.

The Harry Fry-trained six-year-old won the Grade One Mares' Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival last March before ending last season with an honourable second behind Brandy Love in a Fairyhouse Grade One. She should be hard to stop on her handicap debut.

The Winners Wear Cavani Menswear London National Handicap Chase looks far more open but Quick Wave defied a 303-day layoff when winning her sole start last season so a 327-day absence since that Ludlow success isn’t a massive concern. With the Venetia Williams team hitting form, Quick Wave should go close.

At Aintree, the Grade Two Boylesports Many Clouds Chase provides Ahoy Senor with a decent opportunity to get his season back on track.

Lucinda Russell’s stablestar flopped in the Charlie Hall on his seasonal reappearance but he’s miles better than that and deserves another chance. The fact his two Grade One successes have come at this venue bolsters confidence and he can put himself back in the Gold Cup conversation by taking care of business here.

It could be another Saturday to savour for the Skelton team as Ashtown Lad looks a big player in the Boylesports Becher Handicap Chase while Knight In Dubai has decent claims in the Boylesports Daily Money Back 2nd Handicap Chase.

And Walking On Air can leave the Henderson team doing just that by winning the Aintree finale, the Boylesports Extra Places Daily Handicap Hurdle.

Selections 

Aintree 1.30: Ahoy Senor (NB) 

Sandown: 1.45: Jonbon 

Aintree 2.05: Ashtown Lad 

Sandown 2.20: Love Envoi 

Aintree 2.40: Knight In Dubai 

Sandown 2.55: Shishkin (Nap) 

Aintree 3.15: Walking On Air 

Sandown 3.30: Quick Wave

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