Energumene drifted dramatically in the Champion Chase market on Thursday, with Willie Mullins later revealing horse had suffered a stone bruise; Irish trainer happy with star after Navan canter on Saturday
Sunday 6 March 2022 17:18, UK
Energumene appears firmly on course for Cheltenham after emerging in good shape from a schooling session at Navan on Saturday.
Much attention had surrounded the Willie Mullins-trained gelding earlier in the week, with a marked drift on the betting exchanges sparking concern over his well-being.
It transpired he had suffered a stone bruise, but fears he may not make his eagerly-awaited rematch with Shishkin in the Queen Mother Champion Chase were played down by connections.
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His effort after racing at Navan - and subsequent upbeat report on Sunday from Mullins - indicates the big clash remains very much on.
Mullins said: "Energumene pulled out well this morning. He did a canter and I was very pleased."
Dual Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo was another in action at Navan, as was Stayers' Hurdle contender Klassical Dream.
Mullins added: "All the other horses (that worked at Navan) are well also."
Energumene is a best-priced 4/1 chance for the Champion Chase behind the odds-on Shishkin, with the latter having come out on top by a length in an epic duel for the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January.
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Mullins also has Chacun Pour Soi entered in the Champion Chase and he indicated at a stable visit last week that last year's beaten favourite might be the better of his two contenders.
That leaves stable jockey Paul Townend with a tough choice to make, although he is not expected to make that decision until nearer the time.