Newbury: Shishkin set for Cheltenham Gold Cup after Denman Chase win

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Shishkin negotiates one of the Newbury fences

Shishkin will now go to the Cheltenham Festival

Shishkin had to work hard to get his first win of the season and put himself well in contention for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next month.

The Nicky Henderson-trained horse was jockey Nico de Boinville sat at Kempton last time out after refusing to race in his season opener at Ascot.

But the 8-11 favorite stayed with both Hitman and Protektorat to take the Denman Chase to Newbury.

“What we saw today was a step forward to the Gold Cup,” said De Boinville.

“There’s definitely more to come.”

The 10-year-old had questions after the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, where he fell from second to last as he looked a potential winner.

But this time he started smoothly and apart from a small mistake early on, he followed the leader Protektorat for a long time, then took the lead at the second last and went on to win by four lengths and a quarter.

“He’s a fantastic horse, but he’s just got a bit of experience,” the winning jockey told ITV Racing. “It was good to agree for Boxing Day.

“He moved to the line and it was a matter of keeping him interested and excited.”

Henderson, who won the race for the third time, admitted that he was relieved.

“I think this race will do him a lot of good. He needed to run,” he said

“Apart from one fence he jumped well. We have him under control now and he’s behaving himself.”

De Boinville and Henderson made it a double with victory for Iberico Lord 11-2 shooting in the Betfair Hurdle ahead of L’eau Du Sud, Go Dante and Doddiethegreat.

Edwardstone cruised to victory in the Game Spirit Chase for jockey Tom Cannon and trainer Alan King.

The 11-10 favorite won by 40 lengths from the only other finisher Funambule Sivola, Boothill dropping two from home and Amarillo Sky pulled up by jockey Joe Tizzard.

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