Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin dies in tragic accident

 In Uncategorized

Shishkin has been described as a “great friend and warrior” by trainer Nicky Henderson following his shock death just days before he was due to line up in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

The dual Cheltenham Festival winner fractured his hind leg after being cast in his box on Sunday evening, Henderson reported in a post on X.

The shock news comes three days before he was set to take on Galopin Des Champs in a juggernaut clash at the Punchestown festival.

Henderson’s post on Sunday night read: “Tragically we’ve lost Shishkin this evening after he got cast in his stable and fractured his hind leg.

“Everyone involved with Seven Barrows, particularly his owners, Joe and Marie Donnelly, Jaydon [Lee, Shishkin’s groom], Nico [de Boinville] and George [Daly, Henderson’s assistant] are obviously devastated that such a great horse, friend and warrior has gone.

“He was due to leave for Punchestown tomorrow morning but sadly this is now not to be. He was an absolute superstar and his CV is testament to that – except the King George is not in it even though we believe it should have been.

“The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Arkle were his Cheltenham highlights, but the battle with Energumene in the Clarence House at Ascot was probably his greatest.

“This is a very sad night. He was our star and we will never forget him. Thank you Shishkin for the wonderful memories.”

Shishkin quickly established himself as a high-class performer for the six-time champion trainer, overcoming a troubled passage to win the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He progressed into a top two-mile novice chaser the following season, winning three starts easily before thumping his rivals in the Arkle on his return to Cheltenham.

His greatest performance, which earned him a Racing Post Rating of 179, came when coming out on top in an epic battle with Energumene, the other top two-mile chaser of the time, in the 2022 Clarence House Chase at Ascot. But he was pulled up in the rematch in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival two months later, and was found to have been suffering from a rare bone disease.

He was beaten on his comeback the following season in the Tingle Creek but flourished for a step up in trip when scooting clear in the Ascot Chase by 16 lengths. A month later he finished a strong-staying second in the Ryanair and won the Aintree Bowl when tried at three miles for the first time.

His character came to the fore this season, which started with a refusal in the 1965 Chase at Ascot, while he was unseated when in contention in the King George. He was able to bounce back in Newbury’s Denman Chase but a luckless campaign continued as he missed the Gold Cup when one of a number of big-name Henderson horses to be withdrawn from the Cheltenham Festival because of the poor form of the stable.

A fourth-placed finish in the Bowl at Aintree would prove to be his final race. He won 14 races from 21 starts, earning £798,668.

Courtesy of Racing Post