Shishkin delivers decisive victory in Wayward Lad

Shishkin continued his winning run in the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old, who overcame a troubled passage to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March, made a faultless chasing debut at this track last month.

Stepped up in class for this Grade Two event, Shishkin faced decent rivals in Gumball, Tamaroc Du Mathan and Elusive Belle, with the first-named runner setting a strong gallop at the head of affairs.

Nico de Boinville briefly appeared to be pushing on Shishkin at one point, but he really stamped his authority on the contest on the turn for home.

Tamaroc Du Mathan still appeared to be travelling well, but in a matter of strides the race was over and Shishkin was spring-heeled at second-last fence.

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The 1-3 favourite ran out a 13-length winner, with Shishkin now an odds-on shot with some bookmakers for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

De Boinville said: “Dicky (Richard Johnson on Gumball) has gone a right gallop from the start and I was just quite happy to sit off that and get him jumping.

“It was a solid Grade One/Two pace, so it was going to find out any horse that wasn’t up to that standard. It was definitely (an improved performance) as we were going a stride quicker.

“He was a lot sharper coming into today as well, the team at home had him in great shape. The ground was testing enough today, whereas last time he was here it was good ground, so he is versatile ground-wise.

“Like all horses, he is probably better on a slightly better surface, but I think we can come away from that with the dream still alive.

“If something came to challenge me I would have probably found a few more gears, but that was great the way he did it today. I was just checking (between the last two) where they all were as I didn’t want to get caught on the line and look an idiot.

“He got me out of trouble at the last fence down the back as the sun was very low and we couldn’t see an awful lot.”

Shishkin flies the last on his way to another win
Shishkin flies the last on his way to another win (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

De Boinville has won the Champion Chase on Sprinter Sacre and Altior, but is not keen on comparisons.

“I don’t really like to compare top-class horses as they all come with their unique attributes,” he said.

“This horse is different in his jumping style and the way he goes through races. Altior, when he started off, was a different horse to the horse you see today.

“He is incredibly quick through the air, he is very quick to get his landing gear back down on the ground and then he is away, whereas other horses potentially stay longer in the air. He almost hurdles his fences.

“There is plenty more to come for sure. I’m sure we will try to get another run into him and then head towards the Festival, fingers crossed.”