All over in seconds for Shishkin backers - but the equine enigma epitomises what a magical game this is

Shishkin made a hash of the third-last in the Ryanair Chase under Nico de Boinville
Shishkin backers knew their fate when he smashed through the third-last fence.

What a mighty run this was from Shishkin, as irritating as that will be to read for anyone who backed him. We all knew the risks, after what happened to him last year, and it turned out there was good reason for the market caution that allowed him to start at even-money for this Ryanair Chase after weeks of pundits saying he should be 1-2, but don't overlook the heart he showed to struggle into second place after doing everything wrong.

There were two ways the Ryanair could go and lots of folk were obviously hoping for something like the Champion Hurdle, Shishkin loping along behind the leaders and shooting past when the button was pressed while hats went up in the air. Some of the more organised journalists may even have written something on those lines, so as to have a quick report ready for the website, but if so they were hitting the delete key about ten seconds after the tape went up, when Nico de Boinville gave his mount a slap down the neck to wake him up on his way to the first, which he ballooned.

Things got steadily worse from there, Shishkin hanging left, a new crime for him. It seemed to ruin whatever chance Janidil may have had, as the favourite barged into him at several early fences. If he had also barged into Envoi Allen from time to time, he might have hit on a winning strategy.

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Chris CookSenior reporter
Published on 16 March 2023Last updated 19:54, 16 March 2023