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The first meeting between Shishkin and Energumene in January was an instant classic and the two-mile rivals are set to clash again in the Champion Chase at 3.30pm on Wednesday.
Shishkin, a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, got the better of his Irish rival by 1l at Ascot after a thrilling comeback in the final furlongs but he faces a two-pronged assault from the Willie Mullins camp on the occasion as Chacun Pour Soi is among the declared field of eight runners.
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A couple of previous Champion Chase winners will also go to post in the form of Put The Kettle On and Politologue. Last year’s runner-up Nube Negra, Envoi Allen – once the great hope of National Hunt racing – and Funambule Sivola complete the field.
You’ll find Timeform’s horse-by-horse analysis and a tip from the racing boffins below. Don’t forget, Paddy’s giving away a FREE £/€5 bets to spend on any race at Cheltenham today.
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Champion Chase runners
Chacun Pour Soi
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Age: 10 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Has won 6 Grade 1s over fences, including a third Dublin Chase last month. Flopped on both visits to Britain (including in this race 12 months ago) but would add real spice to the mix if at his best.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Went unbeaten in his first 5 starts over fences before worn down only late on by Shishkin in the Clarence House at Ascot. Top-class, bold-jumping front runner who seems sure to go well again.
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Champion Bumper/Ballymore winner who fell in the Marsh last year when going for a 4-timer. Not quite as impressive this term, making hard work of it at Leopardstown at Christmas. Has had a wind op.
Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Likeable front-runner who has got back on the up returned to 2m with stylish wins in Doncaster handicap and Game Spirit Chase at Newbury. This is much tougher but he certainly has each-way claims.
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Returned with impressive C&D win but well below par in Tingle Creek at Sandown only run since. He would have gone very close in this 12 months ago with better luck, but this is a stronger renewal.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 11 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Won this in 2020 but very lightly raced since and after another wind op was a below-par second to Nube Negra in Shloer Chase here on sole run this term. Hard to see this veteran playing a major part.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Nico de Boinville Age: 8 Weight: 11st 10lbs
Retained his unbeaten record over fences when edging out Energumene in the Clarence House at Ascot. Has powered clear to win the Supreme and Arkle at the last 2 Festivals and is the one to beat.
Put The Kettle On
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 8 Weight: 11st 3lbs
Won the 2020 Arkle and this race last year (fourth C&D success) but she’s been well beaten in 2 runs this term and it’s difficult to see her retaining her crown in first-time cheekpieces.
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Champion Chase tips
Timeform: A mouth-watering rematch between SHISHKIN and Energumene and Nicky Henderson’s star can uphold the Clarence House form and make it 3 Festival wins in a row. Shishkin’s strong finish at Ascot proved decisive and that could be the difference again up the Cheltenham Hill which he knows well. Willie Mullins, still seeking a first win in this race, has another strong contender in Chacun Pour Soi.
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