A drastic change of tactics helped Energumene land a dramatic renewal of the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as pre-race favourite Shishkin disappointed and was pulled up.
The hunted became the hunter as jockey Paul Townend, who had made all the running when beaten by Shishkin in a thrilling Clarence House Chase in January, settled Energumene in behind Nicky Henderson’s horse.
Nico de Boinville, riding Shishkin, let out the warning signs early on and, after a bad mistake down the back, quickly pulled up his mount.
That left Energumene free to pounce on Funambule Sivola and Envoi Allen, who were battling it out at the front end, with Mullins’ other hopeful Chacun Pour Soi departing at the second fence down the back.
It is a first Champion Chase…