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    Shishkin's Potential Golden Opportunity Hinges on Newbury Performance
Shishkin's Potential Golden Opportunity Hinges on Newbury Performance
Image courtesy of Horse & Hound

Shishkin's Potential Golden Opportunity Hinges on Newbury Performance

Nicky Henderson, the esteemed horse racing trainer, admits that predicting whether Shishkin will stay the Cheltenham Gold Cup distance is not an exact science. 

However, if Shishkin successfully navigates his Betfair Denman Chase assignment at Newbury on Saturday, the Gold Cup will be his next destination. The 10-year-old has already demonstrated his ability to handle three miles by winning the Aintree Bowl last spring. 

Despite being unseated in the King George VI Chase, Henderson remains confident that Shishkin has what it takes to conquer the extra quarter-mile in the blue riband event. While it's a question that can only be definitively answered on race day, Henderson believes in Shishkin's potential to handle the challenge. 

Having excelled in shorter distances, including victories in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, Shishkin's step up in trip comes as a surprise. However, his performance in the Ascot Chase indicated his staying power and subsequent success at Aintree reinforced this notion. Henderson's primary concern was the lack of a prep race before King George, but Shishkin performed admirably nonetheless. 

The horse's regular jockey, Nico de Boinville, who was unseated in the King George, has been sidelined due to injury but is expected to make a full recovery in time to partner with Shishkin once again. Henderson is hopeful that de Boinville will have a couple of rides under his belt to regain full fitness ahead of Saturday's race.

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