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CHELTENHAM: Shishkin doubles up in Arkle Trophy

Shishkin recorded his second success at the Cheltenham Festival when taking the Grade 1 Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase by 12 lengths.
 
The Marie Donnelly-owned seven-year-old, who started his career by winning a Lingstown maiden for Rob James and Virginia Considine, had landed the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago and was too good for his four rivals.
 
Trainer Nicky Henderson, winning the contest for a record seventh time, said: “You always hope for it but you can never expect it. It is a strange place today and it’s going to be a strange week. It still doesn’t make it any easier watching them - it still gives you the same feeling. A winner is a winner here and they are very special.
 
“We always knew there was going to be that (plenty of pace). We certainly knew Allmankind was going to be up there but I didn’t know the other horse (Captain Guinness) was going to take him on there. They were going to make sure it was a very genuine gallop.
 
“He has got a high cruising speed and he was always able to sit on their tails and he came wide but he had plenty of horse from two out so he let him make his way home but he was impressive the way he came up the hill.
 
“How lucky can you be? We came through the great days when Sprinter Sacre won it, he came through then Altior followed him, who sadly can’t be here this week but having said that, though Altior hasn’t gone and he will be back, it is extraordinary to think you can find another one.
 
“He did today look as good as either of the other two. He has got a long way to go before he comes into the same breath but you couldn’t have asked him to do any more than that today. We were schooling him on Thursday and AP (McCoy) was with us and he was nearly hurdling these fences. He is very, very quick from A to B - it frightens you a little bit.
 
“You would nearly say you would like to see a bit more height but it doesn’t worry me - he is just very fast. He always been that way. He looks like a chaser and he acts like one. He is definitely a two miler and I don’t think you need to go any further he is just very natural at it. It is nice to get that one on the board as it settles everybody down a bit.
 
“There is still work to be done but we can really box on. We will have to think (if he runs again) - why not is the answer. Experience is good. He has only had three chases and we’ve not asked him too many questions up until now.
 
“He hadn’t really beaten anything and he had only been on flat courses. That is first time he has been asked a big question and when you see an answer like that you have got to think about Aintree probably but that would be the only place he does go. It is a short break this year.
 
“It is easy to say he didn’t look like he had a hard race but even without the atmosphere what takes so much out of the horse is the adrenaline. He has still had a proper gallop today.”
 
The victory is a first Grade 1 Arkle for Irish Pointer since the success of Western Warhorse in 2014.

 

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