Shishkin strikes Lightning gold

Shishkin delivered another supreme display in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster.

With Cheddleton a late absentee, only four went to post for the Grade Two and Nico de Boinville settled the 1-7 favourite in third.

Eldorado Allen and Est Illic set a decent tempo in the testing ground before Est Illic found it too much with half a mile to run.

De Boinville just had to niggle on the Nicky Henderson-trained market leader, but he joined Eldorado Allen at the fourth last and the race was soon over.

Shishkin’s jumping in the straight was perfect and he finished with his head in his chest, prevailing by eight and a half lengths.

Speaking from his Lambourn base, Henderson said: “It’s a no-win situation really. He had to do what he did otherwise everyone is disappointed, obviously he’s not going to run again now and he doesn’t need to.

“He was good and as far as I’m concerned, it was what we wanted.

“Nico said they went a good gallop, the ground was hard work but he jumped accurately.

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“It’s very nice for his lad, Jaydon Lee, who is in the final three of the newcomers section for the Godolphin Stable Staff Awards.

“They were trying to say on TV that he jumped left, he might have a bit, but when he goes right he jumps right. At least we know which way he’s jumping next time, all being well, now we’ve got to get there.

“We haven’t used this race before the Arkle with Sprinter Sacre and Altior, but we are very lucky to keep finding these seriously good horses.

“This lad won the Supreme, like Altior, but Sprinter was only third under Mr (Tony) McCoy, as he was at the time.

“He’s different to the other two in a lot of ways as he doesn’t tank through races, he’s very amenable, just as he is in his work. The other two were bruisers, they want every canter to be a gallop!

“It actually makes things a little easier with him as you press the button to go faster, but you can flick the switch off.

“As soon as he went upsides today, he breezed past and the second is not a bad horse, let’s be fair, but he waltzed past.

“You can’t do any more than he did and I can say I’m mighty relieved. I’ve just spoken to (owner) Joe Donnelley and he said he’d never been so nervous.

“We had little to gain today and everything to lose, but it’s over and hopefully he gets there in one piece.”

Nico de Boinville was thrilled with Shishkin
Nico de Boinville was thrilled with Shishkin (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Boinville added: “They tried to turn it into a test on that ground. It didn’t seem to faze Shishkin at all. He jumped and travelled.

“He was just slightly hanging left. He’s like that at home. Some days he can wake up and hang left, some days hang right. It’s just how he’s feeling. Some days he’s as straight as a die. Today he just went that way following the rail round.

“It doesn’t stop him or slow him down. It doesn’t bother him.

“I’m excited about him, the whole team are as well.

“We’re just delighted to get that out of the way. It gives us plenty of time to prep going to the Festival.

“Jonjo O’Neill flicked the button. He gave his horse (Eldorado Allen) a slap down the shoulder. It lit Shishkin up and off he went.

“He doesn’t waste any time in the air. He’s a very slick jumper. He almost hurdles his fences, which the best two milers do. The faster they went, the better he jumped.

“I think he’s got it all and he’s answered our calls. We’re excited and looking forward to what he can do.”

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