The late Gordon Richards won the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster on three occasions with Playlord (1969), Addington Boy (1996) and General Command (1997) and twenty four years later stable stalwart Takingrisks (40/1) provided his son Nicky with his first win in the Sky Bet Chase. The twelve year old has been a tremendous horse for the Greystoke yard winning the nine races since being bought for €35,000 in April 2015 having won an Irish point. Successful in the Scottish National and Rehearsal Chases in 2019, he had run well in the latter event on his most recent start. Beaten six and a half lengths by Yorkhill, the Golden Tornado gelding has formed a formidable partnership with Sean Quinlan (1116541) and the pair stayed on strongly on the run-in to collar Aye Right close home to win by a length and a quarter. It was an agonising defeat for the runner-up but a very gutsy effort by the winner who became the first horse to win the prize at the age of twelve.
Shishkin made it three out of three over fences with another silky display in the Grade 2 Lighting Novices' Chase. Last season's Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner had looked a natural over the larger obstacles on his first two runs at Kempton and it was more of the same here from Nicky Henderson's gelding. The two miles event was run at a good tempo and the most impressive aspect of his performance was the way he quickened to the front at the fourth last. The race as a contest was over soon afterwards as he bounded eight and a half lengths clear of the 149 rated Eldorado Allen. The Arkle Trophy will be next for the seven year old and with pacesetters Allmankind and Energumene amongst his opponents, the strong early gallop will play to his strengths. Shishkin is very strong at the end of his races and one can envisage him bounding up the Cheltenham hill having been tow into the race by that pair. He is top-class.
Just a reminder to subscribers, I will be emailing the February Update on Sunday pm - I am currently adding the final touches and want to see the action from Naas tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting) before sending it out. There is still time to order a copy (£6.00) - please head to the Publications section of the site.
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