Beaten for the first time when completing under rules last time out in the Tingle Creek, last weekend’s Ascot Chase was something of a recovery mission for Shishkin. In reality, connections would probably have been happy with the son of Sholokov finishing his race well having jumped around safely, but Shiskin surpassed all expectations with a dominant display. According to Timeform.com, that win was only 3lb below his best, and he is once more the top-rated chaser in training.
Intriguingly, his Timeform rating of 179 puts him ahead of current Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs. That poses a dilemma for Nicky Henderson, with the Gold Cup being the ultimate prize in National Hunt racing. What’s more, the strong-finishing nature of his win on Saturday offering up the tantalising prospect that Shishkin may stay even further. A winner over three miles in points, there is some stamina on his dam side and Sholokov has produced a Gold Cup winner in the shape of Don Cossack.
Henderson seems set on the 2m 4f Ryanair for his star chaser, however, and is not typically one to change his mind.