A horse walks into a bar – usually something we hear at the beginning of a very familiar joke but such was the case last year when Hewick made a hero’s return to Bagenalstown last year.
The John ‘Shark’ Hanlon-trained American Grand National winner is Cheltenham-bound this week with hopes high of success at one of the biggest events in the world racing calendar.
“He’s after doing everything we asked him and for a small yard like ours to have a runner in the Gold Cup, it means so much. It means so much to everyone in the yard, myself, the two young lads, my mother and father. It’s after being a dream for the last year and keeps everyone going.”
“It keeps the whole show going. He’s not a big horse, he’s only a handy horse, but he loves the game and he’s as honest as the day is long. He’s probably a freak, you don’t get horses like him. He only cost €800 when he was bought, but he doesn’t know that”, Hanlon told Sporting Life over the weekend.
In speaking with Kevin O’Ryan for Racing TV, Hanlon revealed he’s very much on weather watch for Friday’s showpiece event.
“The only problem I have is the rain. We’ll bring him over, he’s going to be declared, but if the ground ends up soft he won’t run.”
“Liverpool is only around the corner and we’ll wait and see. There’s one thing about Cheltenham, you could have soft on Wednesday but on Friday you could have good ground. We have the chance. We’ve got so close now, we’re disappointed because all the good weather has been there and it (the bad weather) is coming at the wrong time for me.”
“I think Willie (Mullins) is doing a rain dance, that’s what’s wrong”, he finishes with a smile.
Should conditions favour Hewick, he’ll have plenty of opposition to get past in Friday’s Gold Cup but like the Hollywood dream that it’s been for the past 12 months, we could yet be in for another chapter in the fairytale story that is the pairing of Hewick and Shark Hanlon.