Paul Nicholls is eager to let Greaneteen take on Shishkin at the Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase in Kempton next week.
The seven-year-old was expected to endure a grade one penalty, but this was well deserved given his performance in Tingle Creek in Sandown.
Only beaten two lengths in Champion Chase in March, Nicholls is confident that Greaneteen, who will be Bryony Frost’s mount, is still improving.
Should he collide with last season’s Arkle winner Shishkin – who is not yet a safe runner as he was under the weather at the time of Tingle Creek and Nicky Henderson was quick to get him ready – punters would be in for a postnatal deal. .
“Greaneteen is incredibly well, it amazes me how he continues to improve physically. He has barely lost a pound at Tingle Creek and is obviously at the top of his game,” said Nicholls.
“He’s in good shape, he’s stayed strong in Sandown and he’s definitely going to race. We can’t wait to see if Shishkin shows up. He loves to go with his right hand, it suits him. He’s very versatile.
“You would have thought he had a tough race the other day, but he came out of it bouncing and he’s been very fresh ever since. We are very happy with him and can’t wait to race with him.
“Obviously Shishkin had a great season last year and he was well placed, and he won well at Cheltenham and Aintree, but now he has to step up against the greats.
“Obviously he’s very smart, but the first time we go out, we’re certainly not afraid to face him, anyway.”
Nicholls has another of his great hopes for the future in Bravemansgame in the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novizis’ Chase, with the six-year-old undefeated in his first two races beyond the fences.
Should the rain come, he’s also ready for a big fight with Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor.
“He’s a real horse and I know he’s stronger and better than last year,” said Nicholls.
“When he was four years old and he was running into the bumpers you couldn’t train him, he was so childish, but now he’s more mature and will continue to improve as he gets stronger physically.
“I would say three miles around Kempton will suit him very well.
“Threeunderthrufive would only race if something happened to Bravemansgame, he probably won’t race until the end of next month.”
Highlighting some of his other runners over the two days, Nicholls believes former Willie Mullins Real Steel inmate could be dangerous with a 145 handicap mark in the Play Ladbrokes 1-2-Free On Football Handicap Chase.
“Real Steel runs and is down to a good mark now when you think he was running well in last year’s King George before he was bleeding badly,” said Nicholls.
“He had a breathing operation which took him a few runs to regain his confidence, but he is showing the right signs at home.
“I think there will be more to Solo and I think Monday’s race (Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase) will stop, so I think he’ll be racing in that. He likes to go right handed and the more it rains the better.
“Danny Kirwan runs in the beginner handicap race and I’m very happy with him. We know he needs to use his right hand, so we kept him for that.”