- Shishkin’s refusal to start at Ascot has caused a headache for Nicky Henderson
- Trainer loath to send wayward star to Kempton with black mark against his name
- Shishkin would also form part of a dual Henderson attack at the North East track
Shishkin could be handed a chance to redeem his reputation at Newcastle on Saturday after trainer Nicky Henderson gave him an entry in the Rehearsal Chase.
The nine-year-old’s preparation for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day has been thrown into disarray after he mulishly refused to start in the 1965 Chase at Ascot.
The Lambourn trainer is loath to send Shishkin straight to Kempton with a black mark against his name but his prep-race options are limited.
If he lines up in the handicap at Newcastle, where he would have to concede more than 21lb to his rivals, Shishkin would follow the path taken last season by Venetia Williams-trained L’Homme Presse, who won the Rehearsal Chase before falling at the last in the King George.
Shishkin would also form part of a dual Henderson attack at the North East track, with unbeaten Champion Hurdler Constitution Hill due to make his seasonal debut in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Shishkin’s refusal to start at Ascot has caused a headache for trainer Nicky Henderson
Henderson, left, has taken the decision to enter Shishkin in the Rehearsal Chase on Saturday
Henderson said: ‘I have entered Shishkin and we will see how he is. He has been fine since Ascot. He cantered yesterday and today.
‘We have various ideas. We know what we have to do. He is not the first horse to turn round at the start.’
Shishkin’s Ascot antics came at a race start running away from the racecourse stables or ‘home’, as Henderson termed it. The trainer has acknowledged the King George would present a similar scenario.
Meanwhile, Flat jockey Ray Dawson has been suspended for six months after testing positive for cocaine when riding at Bath in August.
The 30-year-old blamed the breakdown of a relationship for his drug-taking. His suspension was backdated to September 1.