All eyes were on Shishkin's chasing debut at Kempton on Monday and last season's Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner didn't disappoint with an exemplary round of jumping. Nicky Henderson's six year old led at the second last and dominated thereafter. Shaken up on the approach to the penultimate fence, he lengthened up away and crossed the line 23 lengths in front of the runner-up Mick Pastor, who is rated 137 and was in receipt of seven pounds. His trainer expressed himself delighted afterwards and pinpointed the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices' Chase over the same course and distance over Christmas (27th December). The champion trainer has won that two miles event on nine occasions, including with Remittance Man (1990), Sprinter Sacre (2011), Simonsig (2012) and Altior (2016). Needless to say, the Sholokhov gelding looks every inch an Arkle Trophy contender and it will take a fair horse to beat him over fences this season. He oozes class.
The race had a sad postscript though when Sangha River suffered a fatal injury after the seventh fence. A talented horse, he has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and it is a cruel end to what could have been a very successful career. Olly Murphy's run of rotten luck continues. Hopefully, the tide will turn sooner rather than later.
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