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Clarence House Classic – Runner-By-Runner Preview Of Saturday’s Grade 1 Contest!

2022 Clarence House Chase Runner-By-Runner Preview

There’s Grade 1 action in prospect at Ascot on Saturday as the Berkshire track plays host to the Clarence House Chase. This year’s renewal promises to be a cracker, with Shishkin and Energumene set to do battle, as well as a fine supporting cast in contention that includes last year’s winner First Flow. Our expert has produced their in-depth preview of the race below, which includes a big race verdict.

1. AMOOLA GOLD (Dan Skelton)

Smart handicapper who brought his form figures here at Ascot to an impressive 1212 when beaten just a short head by Before Midnight in November. Subsequently held at Cheltenham, however, and although the return to his favoured track will suit this looks a step too far and expect him to be ridden to pick up some prize money.

2. ENERGUMENE (Willie Mullins)

Exceptional novice chaser last season who gained Grade 1 victories at both the Dublin and Punchestown Racing Festivals. Justified prohibitive odds when landing the Hilly Way Chase at Cork on last month’s seasonal reappearance. That victory maintained an unbeaten record when faced with an obstacle and this enigmatic front runner can be expected to provide stern opposition to Shishkin.

3. FIRST FLOW (Kim Bailey)

Most progressive in 2020, winning five of his six starts. Maintained his upward curve when running out a 14/1 winner of this race last year. Only sixth at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals subsequently, but he bounced back with a victory in the Peterborough Chase on seasonal reappearance. That came on unfavourably quick ground conditions, and the return to this softer surface will suit, but this is an exponentially tough ask facing a pair of bonafide 170+ rated chasers.

4. SHISHKIN (Nicky Henderson)

Yet to taste defeat in his ten completed starts under rules, bringing his chase record to an unblemished 6-6 when bolting up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on last month’s reappearance. Comfortably held a Grade 1 winner in Greaneteen there (holds Hitman on that form) and he is entitled to come on for the run. This track isn’t expected to pose any issues and with pace-setting Energumene in the line-up he should get a good pace to aim at.

Big Race Verdict

Just the five entrants for this Grade 1 contest but it far from detracts from what promises to be an enthralling battle between the best 2m chasers either side of the Irish Sea. The enigmatic Energumene is expected to make this a stern test from the front end, but if anything, that will just play into the hands of SHISHKIN, who blitzed his rivals in the Desert Orchid Chase on last month’s reappearance. That belied any fears that he wasn’t training with his usual zest, and with this track expected to pose no issues, it is difficult to not see him maintaining an unblemished chase record. Last year’s winner First Flow may lack the finishing kick of his younger rivals but is still taken to win the battle for third place.