Shishkin, Nicky Henderson’s Supreme Novice Hurdle winner, makes his chasing debut in the Racing TV Beginners’ Chase at Kempton. The six-year-old faces four rivals, the best of which appears to be Mick Pastor, a faller last time.
The gelding, who carries the Al Boum Photo silks of former bookmaker Joe Donnelly, fell on his hurdling debut last December but was otherwise unbeaten and went on to beat Abacadabras a head at Cheltenham.
Since Henderson’s previous Supreme winner Altior (2016), who has still only been beaten once over fences, Supreme winners have failed to make their mark over the bigger obstacles. Summerville Boy won his first chase, fell in his second and returned to hurdles while neither Labaik and Klassical Dream tried chasing. Henderson has always maintained that Shiskin is a chaser in the making.
Meanwhile Nick Rust, the BHA’s outgoing chief executive, said that he anticipates spectator pilots at racecourses might resume after Christmas – depending on what new measures are introduced when the current lockdown ends.
After Goodwood, Doncaster and Newmarket all had their pilots pulled at the 11th hour and at great expense, racecourses could be forgiven for taking a “once bitten, twice shy” approach to putting themselves forward for future trials.