Henderson duo on course for rescheduled Fighting Fifth

By Sports Desk December 04, 2023

Nicky Henderson says there is a “good chance” both Constitution Hill and Shishkin could run in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

Both missed their intended races at Newcastle on Saturday, with the meeting lost to the weather, and the two jumping stars ended up spending Friday night at Doncaster racecourse on their way back to Lambourn.

Henderson mooted the possibility of Shishkin reverting to hurdles in preparation for a crack at the King George VI Chase at the weekend, having refused to race on his intended comeback at Ascot and the weather then intervening before the Rehearsal Chase.

However, it now seems like he may be joined by his esteemed stablemate, who initially looked an unlikely runner in the rearranged race.

“There’s a good chance they could both run,” said Henderson.

“Shishkin needs a run and I think this is the easiest and kindest way to do it.

“It is only 17 days before the King George and the alternative is the Peterborough Chase but I like the idea of this.

“He was a very good two-mile chaser and so he shouldn’t find it too sharp. I admit he did get taken off his feet a little in last year’s Tingle Creek but this is a good idea for a race before the King George.

“The start won’t be a problem – he says bravely – he won’t be wearing cheekpieces and we hope he has a nice time.”

He went on: “As for Constitution Hill, we’ve ummed and ahhed the whole weekend and when I went to bed I wasn’t going to enter him, but I’ve woken up this morning with a different idea. I haven’t been able to make my mind up, so I’ve put him in.

“There’s a pretty good chance he’ll run, I’d say.

“It’s going to be a wet week but he goes in heavy ground. I’d say he’s more likely to run than not but it is a very difficult call, so everyone just needs to bear with us.

“I suspect both might run. They travelled all over the country together last weekend, so they are new best friends.”

There are eight entries for the Fighting Fifth, and they include Gordon Elliott’s Irish Point, a Grade One novice winner from last season.

Love Envoi, You Wear It Well, Benson, Goshen and Not So Sleepy complete the list.

Henderson’s Jonbon is one of six in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase along with Captain Guinness, Boothill, Edwardstone, Haddex Des Obeaux and Nube Negra.

Joe Tizzard’s JPR One is one of seven in the Betfair Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.

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