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Clarence House Chase: Jonbon shapes well for El Fabiolo clash at Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing

Clarence House Chase bringing back memories of Shishkin versus Energumene. As Jonbon is shaping well, there is doubt over who will ride with the decision being left up to Nicky Henderson. Watch live on Sky Sports Racing

Jonbon just gets the better of El Fabiolo in a great battle at Aintree
Image: Jonbon just gets the better of El Fabiolo in a great battle at Aintree

Connections of Jonbon are excited about the prospect of again locking horns with El Fabiolo, with the Clarence House Chase now just over a week away.

The Ascot Grade One was nominated as the next target by both camps after winning their pre-Christmas assignments and neither team is backing down from the challenge just yet, with the two major players of the two-mile chasing division poised to clash for a third time.

It was Nicky Henderson's charge who gained the upper hand at Aintree in the duo's novice hurdling days, but El Fabiolo excelled during a novice chasing campaign that saw Willie Mullins' seven-year-old claim Grade One glory at the Dublin, Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.

With the scoreline locked at one each, many thought the rubber match would come in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but now the scene seems set for a repeat of Energumene's titanic clash with Shishkin in early 2022, with the Jonbon camp relishing a blockbuster showdown.

"The horse is in great form, Nicky is very happy with him and we're all looking forward to the race," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

"It should be a cracking race and we're looking forward to it."

All has gone swimmingly for Jonbon so far this term and having returned with a dazzling display in Cheltenham's Shloer Chase, he showed he has the ability to grind out results when conditions are against him when producing a gritty performance to win the Tingle Creek last month.

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Jonbon was ridden in both of those victories by Nico de Boinville, but with the Seven Barrows number one on the sidelines with a collarbone injury and former partner Aidan Coleman still recovering from the serious knee injury suffered last summer, the eight-year-old is likely to have a new man in the saddle for the Clarence House.

James Bowen has proved a more than able deputy aboard the Henderson string in De Boinville's absence, but Berry says no jockey decision has been made yet for Jonbon with the trainer set to have crucial input.

He added: "I'm not sure at the moment [who will ride] and we'll leave that up to Nicky."

Watch the Clarence House live on Sky Sports Racing.

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