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Supreme fancy Shishkin in line for Cheltenham prep at Huntingdon

Fri 24 Jan 2020

Nicky Henderson is giving serious consideration to running Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Shishkin in the Mansionbet Sidney Banks Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon.

The imposing gelding shot to the head of the betting for the Cheltenham Festival opener with a scintillating display at Newbury earlier this month.

That was his second outing over timber, and having been an early casualty on his first run, Henderson is keen to given him another outing on February 8.

Speaking at the Cambridgeshire track on Friday, Henderson said: “I was thinking of coming here with Shiskin for the Sidney Banks.

“Two-mile-three around here won’t be too much a test of stamina for him and it won’t be too daunting.

“That is the idea at the moment, anyway.”

Henderson is still contemplating the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot on February 15 for Champ.

Champ looked to have the Dipper Novices’ Chase at his mercy on New Year’s Day, only to fall at the second-last fence.

“Champ schooled this morning and we’re thinking of the Reynoldstown still, but we’ll see what there is,” said Henderson.

Henderson's Marie’s Rock may take in a race at Musselburgh to gain more experience before the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The five-year-old has created a fine impression, with victory on her jumps debut at Haydock followed by a Listed success at Taunton.

Connections sense another run would her good, and are looking at the Supreme Scottish Trial Novices’ Hurdle on February 2 – although they are wary of a hard race.

“She may go for the Supreme Novices’ Trial at Musselburgh a week on Sunday – over two miles and against the boys,” said Tim Palin, partner and director of racing for owners Middleham Park Racing.

“We’ll enter her for that, see what the opposition looks like. If it looks like she may go off favourite, we’ll probably go there just to get a bit more hurdling experience into her – because she hasn’t jumped too many flights in public.

“She only had to jump four at Taunton last time, when five hurdles were omitted, but we don’t want to give her a hard race five or six weeks before her main event at Cheltenham.

“It may look as though she could start favourite and win there before the Dawn Run Mares’ Novice.

“That’s the race we’re heading for at Cheltenham. She has been quoted for the Supreme – but that does not figure on our radar. It’s the mares’ novice.”

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