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Cheltenham Festival: Shishkin odds-on for Champion Chase after classic Energumene duel

| 25.01.2022

Cheltenham Festival: Shishkin 11/10 favourite

The stars of National Hunt racing were definitely on display this weekend as Shishkin and Energumene put on an exhibition of excellence at Ascot, and other Cheltenham Festival contenders tuned up for March’s showpiece meeting.

Ladbrokes now have 19 of the 28 Cheltenham Festival races priced up and some of the weekend’s winners will be dreaming of success at Prestbury Park in the spring.

We have taken a look at each fixture to see how the Cheltenham betting has been affected by all the action.


There is only one place to start and that is at Ascot where the almighty clash between Shishkin and Energumene firmly sorted out the pecking order in our Cheltenham betting for the Champion Chase in March.

Ladbrokes ambassador Paul Townend set out to make this a real test by bouncing out and attempting to make all, but Shishkin survived a near race-ending mistake at the sixth to grind down his rival as they went hammer and tongues up the home straight.

Energumene, Cheltenham Festival

The race was one of the greatest ever seen outside of the Cheltenham Festival and attentions now turn to the rematch in March, for which Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin has shortened to 4/6 at the head of the Champion Chase market, with Energumene’s Cheltenham odds eased from 9/4 to 3/1.

Time will tell whether it will be repeat of revenge, but there is plenty for both camps to cling to before the two heavyweights of the two-mile chasing division trade blows again.


Also excelling for Henderson at the weekend was Jonbon, who put his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle credentials to the test in the Rossington Main at Haydock.

The £570,000 buy, who is a full brother to two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Douvan, has impressed in both outings over hurdles so far, but was a little more workmanlike this time around as he recorded a three-length success. That saw his Cheltenham odds eased to 7/2, with stablemate Constitution Hill still leading the way at 2/1.

Jonbon, Cheltenham Festival

Nevertheless, there could be any amount of improvement to come and he is well worth his place in a red-hot line-up for the opening race of the meeting on Tuesday, March 15.

Elsewhere on the Haydock card, Tommy’s Oscar and Royalle Pagaille got on the scoresheet and became fringe contenders for the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup respectively.


Many of the winners at the inaugural Winter Million seem keen to bypass the Cheltenham Festival for Aintree in April, but one who does have Prestbury Park on the radar is Fantastikas.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stayer, who won the 2m 7½f novice chase on the Friday, could be targeted at the opening day National Hunt Chase over 3m 6f, although connections could be tempted to try their hand in handicap company and aim for the Ultima Handicap Chase depending on the handicapper’s reaction.

Fantastikas, Lingfield, Cheltenham Festival

There was also a win at the meeting for Dan Skelton’s Ballygrifincottage, who earned quotes of 33/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle when taking the Winter Million Novices’ Hurdle.

The Ladbrokes ambassador’s horsebox suffered a blow-out on the M25 on the way to the races and the winner almost didn’t make the starting tapes for the three-mile contest.


Willie Mullins’ Allaho solidified his position at the head of affairs in the Ryanair market when winning the Grade Two Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase for the second year running.

Allaho produced a breathtaking performance in the hands of Rachael Blackmore when winning the Ryanair Chase last year and the defending champion had his old rival Fakir D’Oudairies trailing in second once again. He will now be seen as one of the Irish bankers for the week at even money.

There was also a win on the Thurles card for Gordon Gerri Colombe, who was entered into the Albert Bartlett market at 8/1, while there was a shake-up in the betting for the St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase when Winged Leader (now 8/1) lowered the colours of Billaway, who although still favourite, has been eased to 5/1 from 7/2.


Tiger Roll’s quest for a sixth Cheltenham Festival victory looks to be full steam ahead with Elliott satisfied with the 12-year-old’s efforts over hurdles at the weekend despite only beating three others home.

The race was run over a distance that would be far shorter than his optimum and the two-time Grand National winner will be chomping at the bit to get some Gloustershire air in his lungs as he looks set to make his fifth appearance in the Glenfarclas Cross Country.

He always comes alive at Prestbury Park and is 5/1 in the Cheltenham betting to record another famous victory.

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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication



Warren Barner