Shishkin, Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi on course for Cheltenham showdown

The Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin will be bidding for a third Festival success

Shishkin, Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi remain on course for a mouthwatering showdown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The trio all feature in 10 confirmations for the two-mile showpiece at Cheltenham on Wednesday next week.

It will mean a rematch from the Clarence House Chase for Shishkin and Energumene — a race that will live long in the memory.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin will be bidding for a third Festival success, having already taken the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Trophy.


Like Energumene trained by Willie Mullins, Chacun Pour Soi has yet to win outside of Ireland but appeared back to his brilliant best at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Nube Negra (Dan Skelton) was runner-up to Henry de Bromhead’s Put The Kettle On 12 months ago and will renew rivalry. De Bromhead could also run Envoi Allen.

The Venetia Williams-trained Funambule Sivola is an interesting contender on the back of his victory in the Game Spirit Chase.

Gary Moore’s Editeur Du Gite had to miss the Game Spirit after a late setback but does have two Cheltenham wins to his name this season.

Politologue is set for what could be the final outing of his career, as he looks to regain his crown from 2020, while Gordon Elliott’s Battleoverdoyen completes the list.

Henry Daly, meanwhile, has given Hillcrest the green light to run in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

The giant seven-year-old is unbeaten over hurdles when he has completed and had been towards the head of the betting for the three-mile event even before Minella Crooner’s withdrawal on Wednesday.

Daly had been weighing up his options with Aintree also in the mix but following some extensive schooling this week he is now happy to seek a first Grade One success since Mighty Man’s Long Walk Hurdle in 2006.

“We came to the conclusion that if the horse is well, which I think he is, the plan is to run in the Albert Bartlett,” Daly told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“We know we get the trip, we know we don’t mind the track, the ground is fine from anything from good through to heavy so why wouldn’t we have a crack if he’s ok, which he is.

"I rang Yogi Breisner (jumping guru) after Haydock and asked if he'd watched the race, which he had. He said his back end overtakes his front end so if we could help that a bit it wouldn't hurt.

“We schooled him Tuesday morning having been to Laura Collett’s a couple of times, with Yogi there and Laura riding and we schooled him yesterday and he went nicely.

“I think he will miss one — I can’t get over that — but if we can only miss one and not three that will be a bonus.”