Shishkin suffered a first defeat over fences in last season's Champion Chase; he could return in the Tingle Creek Chase reports Nicky Henderson; Constitution Hill and Epatante look set to return at Ascot and Newcastle respectively, both live on Sky Sports Racing
Sunday 13 November 2022 17:58, UK
Nicky Henderson has raised hopes of seeing Shishkin return in the Tingle Creek Chase after stating his star chaser is “nearly on schedule” for the Sandown showpiece.
The eight-year-old lost his unbeaten record over fences at last season's Cheltenham Festival, having been pulled up when seemingly struggling on the testing ground.
That race was won by Energumene, who Shishkin got the better of when they met earlier that season at Ascot in the Clarence House Chase.
And while that race is still on Henderson's radar, he has raised the possibility of his stable star returning next month at Sandown.
"He had two or three months in his box and out in the field and hopefully we're back rocking and rolling," Henderson told Sky Sports Racing. "He's in good form.
Watch the November Racing Weekend from Ascot, featuring the Coral Hurdle, all live on Sky Sports Racing on November 18-19.
"I'm not going to say it's where he is definitely going to go but we're trying to get to the Tingle Creek. We're nearly on schedule.
"Otherwise we'll go to Kempton [Desert Orchid] and then the Clarence House."
It looks set to be a big fortnight for the Seven Barrows handler, who is set to unleash Constitution Hill at Ascot this weekend before Epatante looks to bag a third Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, with both races live on Sky Sports Racing.
Henderson added: "That's the plan. It's a sensible place to go. We've discussed it with Michael [Buckley, owner]. Ascot is a lovely track for him.
"It's two-miles-and-three [furlongs] but I can't believe that's going to be an issue.
"It also means Epatante can go back to the Fighting Fifth, which she has won for the last two years.
"She had a good year last year, winning two-and-a-half Grade Ones if you take into account the dead-heat in the Fighting Fifth.
"She was very good at two-and-a-half at Aintree so that opens a few doors this season as well. She's working very well. She's carrying a bit of condition, but she's always a bit like that."
Watch the return of Constitution Hill in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, 19 November and Epatante in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday, 26 November at Newcastle, both live on Sky Sports Racing.