Shishkin will head to the Sbk Clarence House Chase at Ascot next weekend after Nicky Henderson confirmed he had worked well at a fog-bound Seven Barrows on Saturday morning.
Last season’s Arkle winner showed his well-being with a 10-length success in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas, and is all set for a mouthwatering clash with the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene.
Henderson – back on a racecourse after contracting Covid-19 – confirmed: “My thinking is not what I was seeing. Because I can promise you, it was such thick fog this morning that they went past in a flash. But I am glad to say it really was a flash – it was so fast.
“We are going to give Shishkin the green light and Nico (de Boinville) was thrilled with him. Barring accidents in the week and all sorts of things that come and bite you and haunt you, we will go to Ascot.
“He was thrilled with him this morning. He will jump five fences, but only when we can see them. You sure wouldn’t want to school this morning, that’s a certainty. His work was very good.
“It was what Nico was looking for that time before Kempton and it only just arrived that time. He is a heck of a lot lighter than he was when he came here.
“So I would like to think we are in shape.”
Of meeting Energumene before the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Henderson added: “Tell Willie to stay at home! I haven’t done so yet. You don’t intend these clashes to happen before March and Shishkin is well and he has to run before March and this is where we are going to go.
“The timing works out a bit better than Newbury (Game Spirit Chase). I like it better. He has had a nice run and has put him spot on for this. It gives me the chance to step back and then build up.”
Henderson also had news of some of his other stable stars, including Jonbon.
He said: “Jonbon will go to Haydock on the same day (as the Clarence House). He worked very well. They all went well from what I can see. All pilots were happy. Jonbon was good, Nico was happy, Chantry House was great, Champ was great, so they are all on course.
“I think Champ will go to Cheltenham over hurdles, I think that is the probability. He still has got both options (Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup) open.
“He hasn’t schooled over anything since Ascot.”