Day One of Cheltenham

March 10th, 2020 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Shishkin must be something special to have overcome the problems he encountered before getting up close home to beat the well-fancied Abracadabras in today’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

He was short of room at the top of the hill so Nico de Boinville switched him to the outside when he was fortunate to avoid a faller at the second last. The turn of foot he had revealed so impressively at Newbury got him out of trouble but he had to display plenty of tenacity to pass Gordon Elliott’s runner close home.

Afterwards Nico de Boinville remarked on the winner’s talent, saying that he has “tremendous gears” and adding that he would probably go chasing next season.

Gordon Elliott said the runner-up was left in front a little sooner than ideal having been last away at the start, while the mayhem at the second last cost him momentum. He will stay over hurdles next season, with the Champion Hurdle a possible option.

I had fancied Fiddlerontheroof to go well but he was never travelling and dropped away tamely from the home turn. I would like to think he had an off day.

Epatante allayed the concern of connections about the testing ground when quickening well to win the Champion Hurdle. Receiving 7lb from the field, her jumping was not entirely flawless but she handled the testing ground well and won with something in hand.

She gave Nicky Henderson his eighth winner of the race and owner JP McManus his fourth success in a row.

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