Shishkin and Energumene could clash in Clarence House

Exciting Arkle winner Shishkin could be on course for a clash with unbeaten chaser Energumene in the SBK Clarence House Chase at Ascot next month, according to Nicky Henderson.

Shishkin missed the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown as Henderson was not happy with the seven-year-old, before making a belated return to land Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on Monday.

Earlier this week, Willie Mullins outlined the Grade One Clarence House Chase as the likely target for Energumene, winner of last season’s Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown, thus potentially setting up a mouthwatering appetiser for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March.

Henderson said: “I would have thought that was the race. I would generally rather go Clarence House than Game Spirit (at Newbury). We’re thinking that way.”

The Seven Barrows handler also offered updates on Chantry House and Mister Fisher, who were both pulled up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He said: “Some horses just don’t like Kempton sometimes. Chantry House was always flat to the boards and was never really enjoying it. I would think the most likely place he will go is Cheltenham for the Trials day (Cotswold Chase).

“Mister Fisher ran really well. He had no chance and I begged the owner not to run him in a way, but he came into the straight and just blew up. He had a fibrillating heart a month ago. He has done well to get back from that in that time.

“Where are his options? That is why we ran him over three miles. What else are you going to keep him for?”

Henderson is also mulling over options for Epatante, who dead-heated in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle before running out a ready winner of the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

He added: “Epatante is 100 per cent. I don’t know where she goes next – I have really no idea.

“But as we said at the beginning of the season, she has got two targets – the Fighting Fifth and the Christmas Hurdle and whatever happens after that, it doesn’t matter.”

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