Shishkin’s Road to victory might not be straightforward
THERE is no getting away from the fact that if the real SHISHKIN turns up for this afternoon’s Ryanair Chase (2.50pm), he should make light work of his eight rivals.
They say that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and that’s the dilemma facing punters as to whether his blistering return to form at Ascot last time is a permanent thing.
His trainer Nicky Henderson has explained that he now requires this intermediate trip to allow him to travel sweetly into the bridle and that looked the case in the Ascot Chase.
On ratings, he is 7lbs clear of his nearest market rival and he reached an official mark of 177 before bombing out in last season’s Champion Chase.
That’s the niggling worry in the back of my mind.
Whether you believe the stories about the ground and the possible bone disorder, he was woeful that day and, despite the fact he has won a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and an Arkle here, he is returning to the scene of his worst ever run.
He’s a best-priced 5/6 with Willliam Hill and that will tempt many, but not me.
I much prefer the chances of the Gordon Elliott-trained FURY ROAD at 11/1 with the same firm.
The nine-year-old got within a neck of beating Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett here three years ago and has returned in great nick this season.
He kicked-off with a decent win over this trip at Down Royal in November and has run well at Grade One level in both starts since over three miles.
That was when third behind stablemate Conflated at Leopardstown at Christmas and then again third behind Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup.
The feeling is that he doesn’t quite see out the three miles, so the arrival of rain may actually help him as it puts an emphasis on stamina.
He jumped with real enthusiasm last time and I think he can shake up the more fancied runners.
Blue Lord somewhat fluffed his lines at the Dublin Racing Festival and steps up in trip here.
Any rain that arrives certainly won’t inconvenience him, but may put more emphasis on stamina which could be a negative.
Connections of Ga Law have made the sensible decision to abandon plans of having a tilt at the Boodles Gold Cup.
This year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup winner could easily hit the frame if brushing up his jumping but that is a worry.
A safer proposition may well be last season’s runner-up JANIDIL,who returned to form on bad ground at Gowran Park last time.
He sees out this trip really well, and was the only one to finish in the same postcode as Allaho 12 months ago.
Chacun Pour Soi and Envoi Allen will have their each-way supporters, but the feeling is their best days may be behind them.
BILL ESDAILE’S 1-2-3
1. Fury Road