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Shishkin (left) and Energumene: declared for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Shishkin and Energumene are set for a fascinating rematch at Cheltenham on Wednesday after featuring in a final field of eight for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30).
There is plenty of strength away from the big two, who served up a thrilling duel in the Clarence House Chase when Shishkin just held sway, as Each For Self and Envoy Allen have also been declared.
Paul Townend will partner Energumene, with Patrick Mullins on Each For Self. Townend has placed his faith in Energumene, who lost out by a length to Shishkin in the epic contest at Ascot, leaving Mullins to renew his partnership with Each One For Self, whom he rode in the Tingle Creek when Townend was out injured.
Last year’s winner Put The Kettle On, 2020 scorer Politologue and Nube Negra add further depth to a star-studded line-up for the day two showpiece, with the progressive Funambule Sivola completing the field.
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase racecard and betting
Shishkin is 8-11 favorite with Coral to continue his unbeaten record over fences, with Energumene at 4-1 and Everyone For Self at 5-1.
Shishkin and Energumene had been due to meet 12 months ago in the Arkle but Energumene was a late absentee, leaving Shishkin to claim his second festival victory following his win in the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Envoi Allen will take his chance in the Champion Chase rather than the Ryanair with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle.
Trainer Henry de Bromhead said: “He worked really well the other day and seems in great form. He certainly has the pace for the Champion Chase, whether he has the experience of jumping at that speed is another thing. They went a ferocious early gallop at Leopardstown over Christmas, so I think he will.”
Stablemate Put The Kettle On, who has been disappointing since winning the race from Nube Negra last year, will wear cheekpieces for the first time.
“We changed tact and went to Fairyhouse last time and it didn’t work at all,” De Bromhead told Racing TV on Sunday. “Last year she was good heading over but it was only when she got there that she started to have that mad look about her, whereas she’s started to have that mad look already.
“Hopefully, she’s coming back to herself and she loves it over there. She had no luck in the Arkle  and she won that, she had no luck in last year’s Champion Chase and she won that. She is the defending champion and she’ll give a good account of herself.”
Champion Chase confirmed runners and riders
Everyone For Himself Patrick Mullins Energy Paul Townend Send Allen Rachael Blackmore Tightrope walker SivolaCharlie Deutsch Nube NegraHarry Skelton political scientistHarry Cobden ShishkinNico de Boinville Put The KettleWeAidan Coleman
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