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SportCheltenham Festival 2024: Shishkin pulled from the Gold Cup as Henderson's woes...

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Shishkin pulled from the Gold Cup as Henderson’s woes continue

Shishkin has been withdrawn from Friday’s Gold Cup following an “unsatisfactory picture” on a scoping to continue trainer Nicky Henderson’s disappointing Cheltenham Festival.

Henderson was last week forced to pull favourite Constitution Hill from the Champion Hurdle due to a lung infection and he will have at least three more non-runners today, as well as Champ tomorrow and Shishkin on Friday.

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Five of Henderson’s six horses failed to finish their races on the festival’s opening day yesterday, including Jeriko Du Reponet and Iberico Lord, and he admits he is puzzled by his stable’s current issues.

He said in a statement on X: “I’m afraid we’ve had to make some very tough decisions following the very disappointing performances of all bar one of our horses yesterday.

“It was there for all to see that there’s obviously something affecting nearly all our horses and consequently we have reluctantly decided that Jonbon, First Street and Kingston Pride will not run today.

“It’s impossible to identify any reason for all the disappointments and none of these three horses have given us any cause for concern and all yesterday’s runners were scoped clean post-race and I’m glad to say all are sound this morning. There will unfortunately be further non-runners on Thursday and Friday.

“I hope everybody will appreciate that we have to do this in everybody’s interests, particularly the horses. It is very, very disappointing for everybody.”

Henderson released a second statement shortly after that confirmed one of the other non-runners would be Shishkin.

He said: “Very sadly it won’t be possible for Shishkin to run in the Gold Cup on Friday. He was scoped as have all our potential runners this week, but unfortunately he’s shown an unsatisfactory picture on which he couldn’t possibly run.

“He appears to be 100 per cent in himself and has been working and schooling better than ever and we really were looking forward to Friday. It’s hoped that along with all the other non-participants this week that they will be back in time for Aintree or Punchestown.

“Regrettably Champ has also succumbed and will not run in tomorrow’s Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and the equivalent race at Aintree could be on the agenda.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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