Willie Mullins is pondering how to get the better of Shishkin after Energumene’s valiant effort in defeat in the SBK Clarence House Chase.
The eight-year-old was involved in a tremendous battle for the Grade One event at Ascot on Saturday, locking horns with Nicky Henderson’s runner and going down by just a length in what many predict will be the race of the season.
Energumene was greatly praised for his valiant effort in defeat and his trainer is now left to consider how to reverse his fortunes come the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.
“It was a tremendous performance from horses and riders and our fella arrived back sound and well this morning,” Mullins said on Sunday afternoon.
“We live to fight another day and I’m not so sure about looking forward to a rematch, but we are going to have to find a different way of beating him.”
Energumene set out to make all of the running at Ascot and looked poised for victory until Shishkin clawed back the deficit and caught him in the final strides, prevailing by a length.
“Yesterday’s race, it looked like we had him (Shishkin) beaten everywhere until the last 100 yards,” Mullins said.
“Maybe going left-handed around Cheltenham might suit our horse better, but I don’t know, and Shishkin has been there and done it.
“It’s still there and there is only a length between us, so he has every chance.
“It was a very good crowd and Energumene got a huge welcome back into the enclosure and a lot of people in Ascot said they had never seen such a welcome back for the winner and the second horse.
“I think everyone appreciated it.”