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Jonbon and Shishkin given Punchestown possibilities

3 minute read

Jonbon’s success in the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday formed part of an exciting week for trainer Nicky Henderson, who is now looking forward to the season finale at Sandown and the Punchestown Festival.

JONBON winning the Melling Chase at Aintree in Liverpool, England.
JONBON winning the Melling Chase at Aintree in Liverpool, England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Having missed the Cheltenham Festival due to the stable's poor form, Jonbon has possibilities for his next run, following a very good performance to defeat Conflated in the two mile four furlong Melling Chase.

He could return to Sandown for a repeat bid in the Celebration Chase – having completed the Aintree-Sandown double last season – or head to the Punchestown Festival alongside stablemate Shishkin.

"Sir Gino, that will be him done, but there is every chance Jonbon could go again and we will have a look at the Celebration Chase or Punchestown," said Henderson .

"If you wait for Punchestown, you get an extra four days, which might be a help, but I think both of mine, because they hadn't been to Cheltenham, they probably had a bit of an advantage here.

"There is room to go again with Jonbon and we will see who is going where and what.

"He did it last year in his novice chase season – he went to Sandown for the Celebration and has done the double act before. He probably had an easier race in the novice chase last year than he did on Friday but it was just a very good race.

"He would have to come back to two miles because there isn't anything for him over further and then we will have to sit down and think," he continued.

"I was saying before the race I was sure he would get the two and a half and wouldn't be surprised if we were soon talking about three (miles).

"Nico (De Boinville) wasn't that convinced about the three, but we will see and I haven't discussed it with JP yet – he's got plenty on his mind at present counting up all his Grade One winners."

Shishkin could only manage fourth in the Grade 1 Aintree Bowl, but Henderson expects the staying chaser to show better form around Punchestown.

"I would like Shishkin to go to Punchestown and I think he would be ready for it," he added.

"I think the track would suit him a little bit more than Aintree and he just didn't look quite sharp enough round there.

"He couldn't just get out of pockets and holes at the right moment. Tactically, it was a tough race and he just lacked that little bit of zip, so we might zip him up a little bit for Punchestown."

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