NICKY HENDERSON has given Shishkin the green light to take on Energumene at Ascot next weekend.
His star dazzled in his last piece of work before his SBK Clarence House assignment to leave the Seven Barrows maestro no choice.
His unbeaten chaser will now put his record on the line against Willie Mullins’ ace next Saturday so long as both sides suffer no late hiccups.
The Arkle hero is now 8-13 favourite for the Grade 1 having been a 2-1 shot on Saturday morning. Energumene can now be backed at 9-4.
Henderson said: “My thinking is not what I was seeing. Because I can promise you, it was such thick fog this morning that they went past in a flash. But I am glad to say it really was a flash – it was so fast.
“We are going to give Shishkin the green light and Nico (de Boinville) was thrilled with him. Barring accidents in the week and all sorts of things that come and bite you and haunt you, we will go to Ascot.
“He was thrilled with him this morning. He will jump five fences, but only when we can see them. You sure wouldn’t want to school this morning, that’s a certainty. His work was very good.
“It was what Nico was looking for that time before Kempton and it only just arrived that time. He is a heck of a lot lighter than he was when he came here.
“So I would like to think we are in shape.”
Henderson added: “Tell Willie to stay at home! I haven’t done so yet. 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.”