Shishkin strengthened his position at the head of the market for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with a stylish success in the Betway Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon.
Having run out an impressive winner at Newbury last time out, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old followed up in similarly taking fashion on his first attempt over an extended two miles and three furlongs.
Taking matters up over the second-last the 1-2 favourite, who runs in the colours of Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo’s owner Joe Donnelly, powered clear before crossing the line 11 lengths clear of runner-up Shan Blue.
Henderson said: “That was perfect – that is what you are trying to do and that is what those races are all about. You are always nervous as they were very respectable opposition, but he has got a lot of gears hasn’t he.
“I think Mr Donnelly might have a couple of rather good shots at the Supreme. He is a beautiful horse. That was exactly what you hoped for.
“You remember the last meeting, I came here with one that I thought would do the same thing called Mister Coffey and all he did was bolt, so you never know until it is over.
“We haven’t learnt anything new, but these are the days you have got to get it over and done with. We always thought he was very good and we have confirmed that he is very good.
“He won’t run again before Tuesday (at Cheltenham) – he will run in the Supreme. Nico (de Boinville) mentioned the Ballymore, I wasn’t sure but two-mile-three here wasn’t going to prove stamina, but it proved you can do anything you like as he is only in first gear to be fair.
“When he went to his bumper at Kempton the day after Cheltenham (last year), I was hardly surprised. He was very impressive.
“He is a chaser in the making. I’m not saying he is another Altior, but he is an Altior-type horse in that he has got a lot of speed and scope. He is a good looking, big, chasing type of animal that we like.”
Following the race Paddy Power and Ladbrokes cut Shishkin into 3-1 favourite for the Supreme.