Shishkin Set To Follow In Altior's Footsteps


Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson has expressed he is thinking strongly about following the same footsteps as his superstar Altior with his new star Shishkin by taking him over fences after his win at the Cheltenham festival in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Altior landed the Grade One contest back in 2016 and that was his last outing over hurdles with Henderson switching him to fences and him being even more successful extending his unbeaten record to 19 races over obstacles.

In that time Altior landed back to back Queen Mother Champion Chases and the Arkle Challenge Trophy which looks to be the big target for Shiskin at next seasons festival.

Although it is yet to fully be decided whether this seasons Supreme winner will switch to fences and try and extend his unbeaten run Henderson has admitted he is very “tempted”.

The six year old since falling on his hurdles debut has shown bundles of ability and plenty of gears when it comes to finishing his races which have seen him land three contests in a row at Newbury, Huntingdon and of course Prestbury Park.

He runs in the colours and of dual Gold Cup winning owner Joe Donnelly who alongside trainer Nicky Henderson is excited for what the future holds for his gelding.

(Credit At The Races) Henderson said: “Joe is a great man and he leaves it entirely to us to get on with it and make plans – because he says ‘the horses are in your hands’.

“He is a very quiet man and just says ‘do whatever you think is right’.

He said: “I’d probably be tempted to go chasing with him.

“He has won his bumper easily and two novices hurdles very well – and although he didn’t win the Supreme like Altior, it was obvious why.

“I will have a talk to Nico (de Boinville), and we will probably give him a school over a fence in the autumn and look and see, because he’s always got the other option of staying over hurdles.”

Even though it does look like fences seems to be the next step for the Grade One winner, continuing life over hurdles is not totally out of the picture and if he was to stay over timber it would hot up the ever growing two mile division.

Henderson said: “With Epatante (the yard’s Champion Hurdle winner this year) and possibly the other two mares Honeysuckle and Benie Des Dieux all in there – and don’t forget if we get (dual champion) Buveur D’Air back with a bit of luck – then all of a sudden it is not the weak division everyone thought it was.

“Then you, of course, have (this year’s top juvenile) Goshen – and if you throw Shishkin into the melting point, then wow!

“He has already won a point-to-point, so I would have thought there is every chance he goes chasing.

“But that is not because I would be frightened of the others over hurdles – (just) that is what he was born and bred to do.”

Another of Henderson's runners that was in the Supreme was Chantry House who stayed on well to finish third and he will next season be stepped up to two and half miles says the trainer.

He added: “He stayed on well, but we said before the race he probably wants two and a half.“He ran a very good race, and I don’t think we would have beaten Envoi Allen in the Ballymore. I think that would have been Henderson wishful thinking!

“He will get two and a half, and I would say that would be over fences, but we’ve not had that discussion yet.

“He has gone back to Ireland now to Martinstown (owner JP McManus’ stud).”