THE ground had also slowed down on the Mildmay course at Aintree but that did not stop the imperious Shishkin (165) yet again producing an eye-catching time on the clock, even if he visually appeared to make hard work of beating Funambule Sivola (160) by three and a quarter lengths.

Nico De Boinville was happy to take the lead from front-runner Gumball, measuring the early fences with precision before an extravagant leap at the last with a circuit to run carried him to the lead.