Course form at Cheltenham is very important as we see time and time again and horses with Cheltenham Festival form is even more important. The buzz and noise at Cheltenham can get horses worked up and we are confident this wont happen to Shishkin who has been there and done it. Shishkin has done this twice now having won the 2020 Supreme Novices & the 2021 Arkle. Energumene has never been to the Cheltenham Festival.
The suggestion that the shorter distance is a fact however this is not taking into account the course layout including the last half mile which is uphill. This uphill finish counters the race being run over a slightly shorter distance.
Shishkin was made to work for the Supreme Novices Hurdle after being hampered by Elixir D’Ainay & Captain Guinness when they fell and brought down 2 from home in the Supreme Novices. He soon responded and was allowed to close back on the leaders without being asked many questions by Nico De Boinville.
Suggestions that Energumene could go even harder earlier on are not an issue for Shishkin. Last year in the Arkle, Allmankind & Captain Guinness tried this & Shishkin jumped fine despite being nudged to keep up before powering past turning into the straight.
Subsequent winning form over fences after taking on Energumene or Shishkin.
Captain Guinness (Beginners Chase, Grade 3 Novice)
Farmix (Novice Chase)
Embittered (Beginners Chase, Grade 3 Novice)
I’m A Game Changer (Grade 3 Novice)
2 x Beginner Chases, 1 x Novice Chase & 3 x Grade 3 Novice Chases (all Novice or Beginner Chases)
Energumene has beaten Notebook (162) & Janidil (164)
Mick Pastor (Novice Chase, Novice Chase, Handicap Chase)
Tamaroc Du Mathan (Grade 2 Novice)
Eldorado Allen (Grade 2 Handicap)
Captain Guinness (Grade 3 Novice)
Allmankind (Grade 2 Novice, Grade 2 Handicap)
2 X Novice Chases, 1 x Handicap Chase, 1 x Grade 3 Novice, 1 x Grade 2 Novice & 2 x Grade 2 Handicap Chase
Shiskin has beaten Allmankind (164) & Greaneteen (167)
Greaneteen, First Flow & Energumene have now been beaten by Shishkin (All Grade 1 winners over 2m in Open company).
Simply put, Shishkin is just a better horse and has proved that again.
Some suggestions that Energumene will appreciate the better going is again based on thoughts rather than data. The closest you can get without actually running on it, is by looking at Sire stats. Let’s have a look at how the 2 Sires progeny fare on Soft (Ascot) and Good To Soft (average going in last 10 years in Champion Chase)
So there you have it, whilst you can make an argument (just based on thoughts and feelings) that Energumene can reverse the placings at Cheltenham, you can easily with data turn it the other way and demonstrate why Shishkin won’t get beaten by Energumene. As with all blogs ‘taking on a favourite’ always be careful about where they are being posted. Bookies sponsored blogs/content where they are trying to get you to back the 2nd favourite…….just think about it!