RANDOX GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL NEWS: Step up in trip no problem for Shishkin as he triumphs in Alder Hey Aintree Bowl
Thursday 13th April
Shishkin made his first outing at three miles plus under Rules a winning one when justifying 7-4 Favouritism in the Grade One Alder Hey Aintree Bowl.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of the winner Shishkin, said: “He causes a few headaches in between times but he is a very good horse, but it was a very good race. Fair play to Ahoy Senor. He looked to be going well in the Gold Cup when he came down. It was a genuine Grade One race. Bravemansgame wasn’t there and it looked like you were playing for second best but without Bravemansgame you can’t say that has solved that problem. He was so much better today than he was at Cheltenham.
“He does finish very well and that’s his thing. He is tough and he stayed. He is still quite lazy throughout his races to be honest with you. It was a good gallop and a good test.
“Okay, so the trainer has got it wrong for the past two years but we know that! We admitted that straight after the Tingle Creek that we had to go up (in trip). We went to two miles five (at Ascot) and he won a Grade One over that. We thought we were right in going over two and a half miles at Cheltenham but he wouldn’t have won over two miles, three miles or five miles at Cheltenham.
"There were a few physical issues (after Cheltenham). He was very sore all over and something was ailing him. There has been a lot of work with physios and very good guys have been treating his back. I took the tongue tie off him as I was worried that he didn’t like that, which he wore at Cheltenham. We have got to tweak things and that is our job. He has proved he stays and three miles is where he is going to stay there is no question about that, we are not going to come back (in trip).
"I think the obvious thing is the King George and we take it from there. Whether we go to the Betfair then the King George I don’t know. You are fairly limited to your options. He can’t go to Punchestown and there is nothing else. We had to show up and he had to show up today and he has proved himself. He stays, he is brave and he fights and he jumped beautifully. His jumping was beautiful where at Cheltenham it was rubbish.
"Whoever has been treating him has done a good job. He was very sore after Cheltenham but you have to assume he might have been sore going into it but it is hard to tell. The only moment he was going at Cheltenham was the run in. He used to be very straightforward but like everybody he gets a bit creakier maybe and you have to treat him like that. You have to say well done to the team as they have helped us turn him around. We have had the four weeks and that was enough time.”
Nico de Boinville, the winning rider told ITV Racing: “When he was getting all that cover - Ahoy Senor was difficult to pass when he was jumping all over the track - he had to be really gutsy today and battle it out. I’m over the moon with him. The team have done a great job at home. Well done Jaden! I’m delighted.
“I just didn’t have the speed [to pass Ahoy Senor] and I waited and thought, I’ll pick him up in the straight and just take my time. It’s a long way up the straight here. He just seems to find that extra bit after the last. He was probably keeping going when the others were stopping.”
Lucinda Russell, trainer of the runner-up Ahoy Senor (11-4), said: “I’m delighted with him, he’s so good. He just got tired going to the last but he’s been an absolute pleasure, after all the Cheltenham stuff it’s just great to have him back. Brian said he got on with him really well, it must be hard when you’ve never ridden a horse in a race before.
“I think he did think he had them beaten and I think he’s disappointed, but in my view they ran a fantastic race. I think he just got tired at the last, when he gets tired his head drops down and that’s just not like him. He’s very brave, Shishkin is a fabulous horse and a flying machine, he’s just kept galloping and deserves all the praise. We’ll be back.
“I’m exceedingly proud, to run at that level is fantastic. Shishkin is a fabulous horse and I’m so proud of him. To think last time he was running I was still running around trying to catch him at Cheltenham and that must have taken something out of him, so I’m delighted, I’m proud and I’m really pleased to see him back.
“It’s funny, some horses take 24-48 hours to recover after a fall but he took 3-4 days to really get over it and for a horse like him who’s so strong it’s really unusual. He’s come back today and jumped superbly – bar a few little mistakes – so I’m delighted for him and Brian gave him a great ride.
“I think Shishkin really stays and you can see at the finish, he’s a fabulous horse. I’ll speak to the owners, to Paul (McIvor) our race planner and to Scu and we’ll think up a plan for next year. Both the Gold Cup and this race are certainties, it’ll just be how we get there.”
Rachael Blackmore, rider of the third A Plus Tard: “He just struggled a bit at the end.”
Henry de Bromead, trainer of third-placed A Plus Tard, said: “Obviously he didn’t finish out the race as well as we’d have liked, but we are definitely heading back in the right direction. We haven’t got there, but we are getting there, so we are happier than we were.
“He jumped well and travelled well, which was brilliant, and then just looked like he got proper tired at the second last. On the home turn it looked as if he was getting into it, but he struggled a bit between the third last and the second last. Rachael was happy with him up until then.
“It was way better than Haydock, and who knows what would have happened at Cheltenham. It was effectively his first race of the year and we feel we’ve got something to build on again next season. We’ll give him the benefit and see.”
2.55pm Alder Hey Aintree Bowl Chase (Grade 1)
1 Shishkin 7/4 Fav
2 Ahoy Senor 11/4
3 A Plus Tard 100/30