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Nicky Henderson provides Shishkin update ahead of Clarence House Chase showdown at Ascot

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Nicky Henderson has admitted that he’s ‘very happy’ with Shishkin as he prepares for a mouthwatering clash with Energumene in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Shishkin, who made a winning start to the season in the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December, will face a competitive field in the Grade 1 race this weekend.

As well as the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene being entered, First Flow, Hitman and Amoola Gold also hold entries.

Nicky Henderson Pic: Francesca Altoft
Nicky Henderson Pic: Francesca Altoft

“We have been very happy, Nico [de Boinville] rode him on Saturday, but we couldn’t see a thing because of the fog.

“Nobody wants Ascot to be a bog for this ‘so-called’ clash, which looks like it’s going to materialise.”

The Seven Barrows did joke about coming up against Energumene before the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

“I am trying to organise a ferry strike or rough seas, but I don’t think I’ll get away with the latter looking at the weather forecast.

“I think we’ll have to organise a ferry strike to prevent the Irish raider from coming over,” he added.

It was a strong weekend for the Seven Barrows team, hitting a total of five winners across the board at Kempton and Warwick.

“I don’t know why Kempton suits us, but it always does,” he said. “It suits our horses because it’s mainly not as wet as a lot of these other places.”

Call Me Lord finished third in the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, while Marie’s Rock was pulled up, but Mister Fisher impressed as he won the Grade 2 Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase.

“He [Mister Fisher] was great and that race was made for him, I couldn’t have ridden the conditions better myself.

“We could have had a bit more drier ground, if I must admit, but he was very good.

“He didn’t run badly in the King George because it was his first run of the season,” said the trainer. “He had a fibrillating heart in November, so he did really well to get to Kempton at Christmas.”

Having experience both three miles and two-and-a-half, Henderson feels Mister Fisher will favour the Ryanair Chase in March.

“He got tired [in the King George], but I think he got tired more than he ran out of stamina and the timing was good because he actually had a nice prep race as he pulled up at two-and-a-half miles in the King George.

“It was a perfect prep race for him, even though that wasn’t the plan,” Henderson said. “I think it would be the Ryanair Chase because two-and-a-half is his trip, but ground is very important.”

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