- Shishkin’s refusal to start at Ascot has caused a headache for Nicky Henderson
- Pic D’Orhy won the Grade 2 Nirvana Spa 1965 Chase in Shishkin’s absence
- Henderson is now looking for a prep race ahead of the King George VI Chase
Odds-on favourite Shishkin’s refusal to start at Ascot on Saturday has left trainer Nicky Henderson with a massive headache.
The recalcitrance effectively handed the Grade 2 Nirvana Spa 1965 Chase to Pic D’Orhy, while leaving Henderson searching for options to give Shishkin a prep race ahead of the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Shishkin has shown reluctant tendencies before and during races, but this was a whole new level of obstinacy, with jockey Nico de Boinville helpless to get him to move.
Henderson said: ‘He is a quirky character at times but he will never turn his head.
‘He was in a mood today and he wasn’t for moving. I wish I could tell you more but I can’t – I can’t read his head.
Shishkin’s refusal to start at Ascot has left trainer Nicky Henderson with a massive headache
Pic D’Orhy (blue) won Nirvana Spa 1965 Chase by 16 lengths after battling off Straw Fan Jack
‘My biggest concern would be how can I guarantee he wouldn’t do the same thing in the King George. The start at Kempton worries me.’
Pic D’Orhy, trained by Paul Nicholls, won by 16 lengths but initially had to battle hard to fend off 40-1 runner-up Straw Fan Jack, leaving jockey Harry Cobden underwhelmed.
Pic D’Orhy was one of four winners on the day for Cobden.