• Racing Preview Saturday: Ascot

By Andrew Atkinson

Ascot features the Grade 1 SBK Clarence House Chase over 2 miles and the Grade 2 SBK Mares Hurdle over 2 miles 7 furlongs.

Nicky Henderson trained Shiskin, under Nico De Boineville, sees the eight-year-old go to post 4-7 odds-on favourite in the Grade 1 contest.

Shishkin biggest threat is 2-1 chance Energumene in the SBK Clarence House Chase with last year’s winner First Flow (8-1) and outsider Amoola Gold 100-1.

Unbeaten chasers Shiskin and Energumene meet for the first time, having initially been set to clash in the 2021 Arkle at the March Cheltenham Festival, with Energumene sustaining lameness.

Shishkin is vying to extend his winning run over fences, with threat Energumene cut in, from 9-4, the latter owned by Premier League club Brighton chairman Tony Bloom having his first start in Britain after winning the Hilly Way Chase on his reappearance at Cork in December.

The dual Grade 1 winner, trained by Willie Mullins, was beaten on his stable debut in a Navan bumper in 2019, prior to going on to win his next seven races.

First Flow is ridden by David Bass, with Amoola Gold, trained by Dan Skelton ridden by brother Harry.

Paul Townend, who rides Energumene, also rides Willie Mullins trained My Sister Sarah in the Grade 2 SBK Mares’ Hurdle.

“We are going to give Shishkin the green light and Nico de Boinville was thrilled with him,” said Henderson, after preparing ahead of the race.

“His work was very good. So I would like to think we are in shape,” he said.

“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. 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,” added Henderson.

Ascot SBK Clarence House Chase 3.35 runners and jockeys

Amoola Gold – Harry Skelton

Energumene – Paul Townend

First Flow – David Bass

Shishkin – Nico de Boinville

Clarence House Chase betting: 4-7 Shishkin, 2-1 Energumene, 8-1 First Flow, 100-1 Amoola Gold.

ASCOT fromthehorsesmouth.info selections: 12.35 Irish Hill. 1.10 Cat Tiger. 1.45 Fils D’oudairies (ew). 2.20 Western Victory. 2.55 Amour de Nuit. 3.35 Shishkin. 4.05 Monbeg Genius (ew)