Leading British trainer Nicky Henderson walked away from the Cheltenham festival with two winners this season and those stars, Shishkin and Chantry House are set to be joined by Fusil Raffles in heading to Aintree for the Grand National meeting.
Shishkin was one of the short priced superstars to hurt the bookmakers on the first day of the Cheltenham festival when he went on to land the Grade One Arkle by 12 lengths.
Chantry House and Fusil Raffles ran home a Henderson 1-2 in the Marsh Novices' Chase after the fall of Envoi Allen left the race wide open and the Seven Barrows pair obliged, with the JP McManus owned horse taking the Grade One spoils.
These three Cheltenham runners are now set to show up on Merseyside in early April and look to continue their good run of form with another smart performance at Aintree.
“I’m hoping Shishkin, Chantry house and Fusil Raffles will all be going to Aintree – that is the plan,” the Seven Barrows trainer told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.
“Epatante was probably slightly disappointing. I think she ought to have finished second, but she wouldn’t have beaten Honeysuckle in a million years. We’re probably going to go to Punchestown and give it another go.”
Although Henderson managed to have Cheltenham festival glory for another season, some of his horses did not perform to the standard they should of, with Champ and Santini in the Gold Cup having a torrid time of things from the outset.
The handler felt Champ was suffering from a physical issue, with Santini ultimately unsuited by the application of a first-time visor.
He added: “Champ, almost certainly, we know where the problem is – it’s in his back and he’ll be returning to Ireland ASAP for a bone scan. He has had back surgery before in the past and it almost certainly wants re-examining, so that’s all been put in place.”
“Santini schooled very well in the visor, but I have to say, in the race, he just didn’t face it. Some horses don’t, (but) you can’t tell at home. He didn’t like it, he’d schooled well and we thought it would make a big difference.”