The clash of the season looks set to go ahead with both Shishkin and Energumene declared to run in Saturday’s Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Nicky Henderson’s stable star Shishkin was expected to line up after confirmation from his trainer earlier this week following a good piece of work at his Seven Barrows yard.
It was unclear whether Energumene would be declared to run, with the decision made by trainer Willie Mullins just before 10am this morning.
After well documented issues in the autumn, Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin made a spectacular return to action in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last month.
The Sholokhov gelding is a hot favourite to extend his unbeaten record over fences to seven in this weekend’s feature event, but in Energumene he faces a new and serious rival.
Since finishing third in a Navan bumper on his debut, the eight-year-old has won each of his seven starts for Willie Mullins and is five from five over fences.
He looked set to meet Shishkin in the Arkle at Cheltenham last March after a dominant display in the Irish equivalent, but a setback ruled him out of the Festival.
Energumene recovered in time to win by 16 lengths at the Punchestown Festival, though, and looked as good as ever on his seasonal reappearance in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork in early December.
Last year’s winner First Flow heads up the chief opposition for the Kim Bailey team, with Amoola Gold for Dan Skelton completing the select field of four.
Don’t miss the Grade One Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Source : Sky Sports