Shishkin shines for Gold Cup-winning owners with debut Kempton success

Nicky Henderson’s charge comes home a clear-cut winner

  • Saturday 16 March
  • News
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Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owners Joe and Marie Donnelly carried their good fortune on to Kempton as Shishkin made an impressive debut under rules.

Al Boum Photo emerged triumphant in the main event in the Cotswolds on Friday, adding to Melon’s second place for the Donnellys in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday.

Shishkin (4-6 favourite) looks another smart recruit for them after the Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old ran away with the Matchbook Best Value Exchange Maiden Open National Hunt Flat by eight lengths in the hands of Nico de Boinville.

Paddy Power offer 33-1 about him for next year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and assistant trainer Toby Lawes was delighted with the win.

He said: “He is a wonderful, big horse. He is still very raw and leggy and has plenty of growing and filling out to do.

“Today he showed pure ability and I’m over the moon to see that. Nico was suitably impressed. He did everything right and we could have a smart horse on our hands.

“It is our first runner for the owners. It has been a cracking week for them, winning the Gold Cup and finishing second in the Champion Hurdle.”

De Boinville was completing a double after earlier scoring on Forth Bridge in the Matchbook Silver Bowl Handicap Chase.

Colin Tizzard may have drawn a blank at the Cheltenham Festival, but Reserve Tank (11-4) ensured he will be part of his team for Aintree after collaring The Cashel Man in the dying strides for a neck victory in the Matchbook Betting Podcast Novices’ Hurdle.

Kim Gingell, daughter and assistant trainer, said: “Robbie Power said last time that he needed one more run for the experience before he goes to Aintree and that is where he will now go.

“He is a nice horse that just needs to fill into himself.

“They (owners) have talked about going for the two-and-a-half-mile novice on Grand National day. It is nice to end the week on a winner.”

Reflecting on Cheltenham, she added: “There were a few things Dad wished he done differently, like put blinkers on Native River and run some in different races, but the main thing is they all came back safe and sound.”

Alan King was another who failed to hit the target at Prestbury Park, although a quick-fire double initiated by a two-and-three-quarter-length success for Harambe in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novices’ Hurdle helped him move on.

King said of the 9-2 winner: “He was a good bumper horse, but he doesn’t stand a lot of racing as he gets very light. I don’t know what went wrong at Newbury as he never got into it.

“He is a horse that will no doubt get further than today (two miles)”

Timoteo (4-5) doubled King and Hutchinson’s tally after backing up his victory at Stratford on Monday when taking the Get Switched On With Matchbook Chase by seven lengths.

He said: “Luckily this race didn’t fill on Monday, so we put him in on Tuesday morning. The only other option was to go to Ludlow over two and a half miles, but I didn’t want to go round there on mats and things with his legs.”

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