Horse racing-Henderson withdraws runners including Gold Cup hope Shishkin

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 11:59 AM

(Reuters) – Trainer Nicky Henderson withdrew Gold Cup hope Shishkin on Wednesday after pulling several other runners, including Champion Chase contender Jonbon, from the Cheltenham Festival due to health concerns.

Five of the trainer’s six runners failed to finish races on Tuesday, the opening day.

Henderson, the active trainer with the second most Festival wins after Willie Mullins, said it was not possible for Shishkin to race on Friday after he had shown “an unsatisfactory picture on which he couldn’t possibly run”.

“I’m afraid we have had to make some very tough decisions following the very disappointing performances of all bar one of our horses yesterday,” he said in a statement released on social media.

“It was there for all to see that there is 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.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)