Nicky Henderson has revealed Shishkin is “99.9 certain” to run in the 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
The nine-year-old is also entered in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, but Henderson looks set to opt for the shorter race at Ascot, with the ground the key factor.
The Grade Two 1965 Chase is run over 2m 5f at the Berkshire track, where the going was described as good to soft on Tuesday, while the Grade One Betfair Chase is a three mile and one-and-a-half furlong contest, with the ground at Haydock heavy, soft in places on Tuesday.
Shishkin, who won the Ascot Chase last season before going on to finish second in the Ryanair Chase and winning the Aintree Bowl over 3m 1f, now heads the betting for the 1965 Chase ahead of Pic D’Orhy.
Speaking to Racing TV at Exeter on Monday, Henderson, whose main target for Shishkin is the King George over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day, said: “We always sort of said we were going to the Betfair but then there’s Ascot as well which just might be a kinder starting place.
“We know he likes it at Ascot, he’s won over two miles there, he’s won over two mile five [furlongs] around there.
“I just think it’s a more sensible race. I think the ground is going to be the main contributor where we go and at the moment Haydock is lovely but when it’s soft it gets very soft, whereas I don’t think Ascot is going to be good ground but if the forecast is right and we get a couple of dry days it mightn’t be too bad.”
Watch the November Racing Weekend at Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing on Friday November 24 and Saturday November 25.
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