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The Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin made it three victories for four starts over hurdles with a thrilling victory in the £125,000 Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival.
Ridden by Nico de Boinville, the Donnellys 6/1 shot stayed on strongly up the Cheltenham hill to get the better of a battle with the Gordon Elliott-trained Abacadabras (11/4), with Shishkin’s stable companion Chantry House (15/2) was a further 11 lengths back in third.
Seven Barrows maestro Henderson, drew level with Willie Mullins as the most successful trainer ever at The Festival with his 65th victory.
Shishkin, a £170,000 purchase at Tattersalls Cheltenham in 2018, was providing Henderson with a fourth victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle following on from Altior (2016), Flown (1992) and River Ceiriog (1986).
1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
1 Shishkin (Marie Donnelly) Nicky Henderson & Nico de Boinville 6/1
2 Abacadabras (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott & Davy Russell 11/4
3 Chantry House (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson & Barry Geraghty 15/2
15 ran 9/4 fav Asterion Forlonge (4th)
Distances: hd, 11.