Shishkin wins the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by a photo finish ahead of Abacadabras as Cheltenham Festival 2020 gets underway
We have our first winner at this year’s Cheltenham Festival following the conclusion of the curtain-raiser in the shape of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Shishkin, trained by Nicky Henderson, beat the pack to win ahead of Abacadabras in second via a photo finish.
The six-year-old, ridden by Nico de Boinville, edged his duel with Abacadabras after the last in an eventful edition of the novices’ extended two-mile championship.
Shishkin won the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday
The six-year-old, ridden by Nico de Boinville, edged his duel with Abacadabras after the last
It came down to a photo finish that confirmed Shishkin as the winner in the 1.30pm race
Trainer Nicky Henderson (left), De Boinville and their team are presented with their trophies
The 6-1 shot was headed on the run-in and found himself almost half a length down to Gordon Elliott’s challenger at one point, before rallying to win by a head – with Henderson’s Chantry House 11 lengths back in third.
Asterion Forlonge came fourth in the 1.30pm race on Tuesday afternoon.
De Boinville managed to avoid interference as long-time leader Asterion Forlonge jumped out to his right at the second-last – cannoning into Elixir D’Ainay, who fell and brought down Captain Guinness.
De Boinville said: ‘It wasn’t a very nice experience, to be honest – everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It just shows what a fantastic horse this is going forward – he has got so much ability, and I’m looking forward to him going chasing.
‘That’s his first time in a big field like that in front of a big crowd – it was just a case of finding where and when he could travel. I pulled him back down the hill just to give him a bit of light and get him back on the bridle, and then he’s just taken me into the straight.’
De Boinville acknowledges and celebrates with the crowd after his victory on Shishkin