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"The ground at Ascot will be preferable" - Shishkin to bypass Betfair Chase

21 Nov 2023
Jon Vine 21 Nov 2023
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  • Key quotes from Nicky Henderson
  • Shishkin is entered in the 2023 Betfair Chase at Haydock
  • Henderson has confirmed that Shishkin will instead run in the 1965 Chase at Ascot
shishkin aintree
Shishkin ridden by Harry Skelton clears the last before winning the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase during Grand National Day. (Getty)

Shishkin won't be making an appearance in the Betfair Chase this weekend after Nicky Henderson decided that the ground at Haydock was too soft.

Having ended last season with a maiden victory over three miles at Aintree, Nicky Henderson identified the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a possible target for Shishkin. That path seemed to have been confirmed when Henderson entered his star in the first Grade One of the British National Hunt season, the Betfair Chase, held at Haydock Park this Saturday.

Like with many of stable stars down the year's, Henderson has refused to run Shishkin on very soft ground. So, with the ground at Haydock currently heavy, it came as no surprise to anyone when Nicky told Sky Sports today that Shishkin was "99.9% certain" to be running at Ascot this weekend instead.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that two-miles-five around Ascot is going to suit him better than three miles in the soft at Haydock." said Henderson.

"The ground at Ascot will be preferable and he's almost certain to go there. He's won a two-mile-five race there and we know he likes (Ascot). This is a prep race for the King George and we want to win it."

"He didn't travel as well as he might in his races last season and I think we might put some cheek-pieces on him. We've schooled him in them and they help keep his mind on it."

Shishkin won't have everything his own way in the 1965 Chase, with fellow Grade One winner, Pic D'Orhy an intended runner for Paul Nicholls. Harry Cobden has already been confirmed in Pic D'Orhy's saddle, with Daryll Jacob booked to ride Bravemansgame in the Betfair Chase.

Bravemansgame currently shares favouritism for Haydock's feature with defending champion Protektorat. You can find the full betting for the 2023 Betfair Chase here on our website.

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