Andy Holding previews the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival 2023 after the Tingle Creek Chase triggered a 'seismic shift' in the market.
Champion ChaseSee All Odds
As anticipated in many quarters beforehand, the outcome of the Tingle Creek Chase was always likely to have major repercussions on the Champion Chase market but, even allowing for those preconceived thoughts, not too many would have predicted such a seismic shift.
Heading into the Grade 1 at the Esher track, Shishkin was the one most punters expected to have the biggest impact, not only in the race itself, but on the big one at Cheltenham next year.
However, as it turned out, Nicky Henderson's gelding ran well below par and it left the door wide open for EDWARDSTONE to seize the opportunity presented to him.
Held up at the rear of the field going down the back straight, it soon became apparent the son of Kayf Tara was going better than his main market rival approaching the Pond Fence and from the moment he breezed by the 6/5 favourite, it all proved pretty plain sailing for Alan King's gelding.
The way he powered up the Sandown hill to pull well clear of the other fancied horse, Greanateen, showed his qualities to the full and on this evidence, there's little doubt he's back to the sort of level that propelled him to be crowned last season's best novice.
Moreover, the numbers he produced, just slightly better than the ones Jonbon posted over the same C&D, suggest he ran somewhere close to a career high and with the distinct likelihood of even more to come with that initial run under his belt, it's hard to argue with the view - certainly based on the bookmakers odds - that he is the biggest threat to the title currently held by Energumene.
As we know in this game, it's never a good thing to write off a horse - especially a top class one - after just one poor run, but that's now two below-par performances that Shishkin has delivered in as many runs, so there maybe something more untoward with him than meets the eye.
Either way, with connections almost certain to be stepping him up in trip from now on, he makes very little appeal at his readjusted quotes of 20/1 for the Champion Chase in March. It would also be a brave man who accepts 8/1 for the Ryanair Chase until he shows more sign of a proper revival.