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Cheltenham Festival: Punting mystery solved as Templegate predicts one ‘error’ that could decide Shishkin vs Energumene

WHILE calling it the race of the century may be slightly OTT, it was great to see Shishkin and Energumene light up Ascot at the weekend.

Of course, as a signed-up member of the Energumene fan club I’d rather the result was the other way around.

Could Energumene take advantage of Shishkin’s one weakness and beat him with it in the Champion Chase?

But it was a reminder that two-mile chasers have always provided the winter game’s greatest spectacle.

From a Cheltenham perspective I want to say I’m confident the tables will be turned in the Champion Chase next month but if Shishkin gets to Prestbury Park in one piece he looks very hard to beat.

I haven’t heard it said anywhere that Willie Mullins left something to work on with Energumene who now clearly needs to improve a bit further to close the gap with the English superstar.


BACK IT NOW: ENERGUMENE AND SHISHKIN TO FINISH 1-2 IN THAT EXACT ORDER IN THE CHAMPION CHASE AT A BOOSTED 5-1


The hope for my ante-post bet on the Irish hope is that Shishkin makes the same type of error he made halfway round at Ascot.

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At Cheltenham, that could cost him more momentum and allow Energumene to build up a big enough lead to last up the hill.

Some bookies went 1-2 about Shishkin at the weekend but that is generally 4-6 now.

Energumene is 3-1 which seems very fair given he does jump better than his big rival even if he lacks his finishing kick. I haven’t given up hope yet!


BACK IT NOW: ENERGUMENE AND SHISHKIN TO FINISH 1-2 IN THAT EXACT ORDER IN THE CHAMPION CHASE AT A BOOSTED 5-1


DON’T KNOCK JONBON

Jonbon finished his Supreme Novices’ Hurdle prep with a Grade 2 success at Haydock that many think didn’t set the world alight.

Tacky ground at the Merseyside track stops trains and he took a while to get going before winning pretty comfortably in the end.

His jumping was slick again and the end-to-end gallop of the Supreme will suit him much more.

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And don’t forget he was giving weight away all round too which can’t have helped in the conditions.

Stablemate Constitution Hill still heads the Supreme betting but Dysart Dynamo could be a bigger threat from Willie Mullins.

He was impressive when scooting in at Punchestown earlier this month and is more likely to take on the Henderson pair than run in the Ballymore over further.

I hope he does go for that other option!

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