Shishkin gets up to beat Abacadabras in Cheltenham Festival opener

By Andrew Atkinson

Shishkin (6-1) – tipped to win – and Abacadabras, tipped each-way, finished first and second in a thrilling opening day race at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday. Shishkin, well fancied prior to the off, unexpectedly drifted in the betting, with Abacadabras, heavily backed, from 7-1 to 11-4, in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old, Shishkin, ridden by Nico De Boinville, gained a head victory over Abacadabras, with Chantry House (15-2), 11 lengths back, third.

Jockey Nico De Boinville on 6-1 winning tip Shishkin.
Jockey Nico De Boinville on 6-1 winning tip Shishkin.

“It wasn’t a very nice experience to be honest – everything that could go wrong, did,” said De Boinville.

Shishkin was sandwiched in between the field, and De Boinville said: “It was a case of giving him a bit of light going into the straight.”

Seven Barrows based trainer Henderson added: “We had to come from a difficult place to win.”

The forecast paid £23.45.