LiveScore Racing News: Henderson sets focus on Prestbury Park

LiveScore
22/01/202219:00
Nicky Henderson appears fully aware that Energumene is more than capable of gaining revenge over Shishkin at Cheltenham.
Nicky Henderson appears fully aware that Energumene is more than capable of gaining revenge over Shishkin at Cheltenham.

Trainer Nicky Henderson says his team won the battle but "the war" is still to come at the Cheltenham Festival after Shishkin got the better of Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot

Both horses were unbeaten over fences heading into the race, with Shishkin seen as the marginal favourite, and the duo produced an absolute epic at the Berkshire venue to delight racing fans. 

The Willie Mullins-trained Energumene was leading by a length at the final fence and looked to be on course for victory, only for Shishkin to rally and land the win by a length in a dramatic finish. 

First Flow was way back in third for trainer Kim Bailey while the Dan Skelton-trained Amoola Gold rounded off the quartet, as the duo were never able to get close to the leading pair. 

It was a superb battle between the duo and this encounter will have got the juices flowing for the rematch when they meet again in March for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Anticipation is already building ahead of the Prestbury Park spectacle and Henderson, who is delighted Shishkin has now won all seven races over fences, admits his team still have a lot to do to claim the outright bragging rights. 

"This is a battle, not the war. The big day is in March and there's nothing between them. I'm pretty sure if we can both get them there together, it's going to be a lot of fun. Fascinating," he said, as quoted by Independent.ie. 

"It's special when you get that kind of build up, and it became very important - Nico said it gave him the best moment of his riding career so far, which says something when you've ridden Gold Cup winners and things like that. 

"Today was round one and Willie and I have got to go home and get ready for March - that is going to be round two." 

Willie Mullins unsure if Energumene can reverse Shishkin form
Willie Mullins unsure if Energumene can reverse Shishkin form

As for Mullins, he was gracious in defeat but has his reservations about whether Energumene will be able to reverse the result at the Cheltenham Festival, suggesting his team have some work to do. 

"Maybe Shishkin didn't jump as well as we did and whether there is more improvement in him, I don't know," he said. "I was watching my own horse, but Shiskin made two mistakes I think, so that would leave you to think we have a bit to go yet before we beat him. 

"Shishkin is not too bad around Cheltenham. You would have to think we are going to find it hard."

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