Have you ever seen a shark walk a horse into a pub?
It happened on Halloween as the John ‘Shark’ Hanlon-trained Hewick had a hero’s welcome back to Bagenalstown on Monday evening.
Having had his return from the US delayed in the wake of winning the American Grand National, Hanlon and Hewick landed safely in The Pint Depot at Royal Oak to a big crowd with Hewick lead from his transport through the front door and into the pub lounge, jacket and all.
“He wanted a pint, so I brought him in”, Hanlon told KCLR Live on Tuesday morning.
“It was amazing. The rain, the bad day, and there was still a couple of hundred people below (at The Pint Depot). They all wanted to see the horse. It’s great for me, the yard, my own family and the locality around here.”
For those who missed their chance to welcome Hewick back to Bagenalstown, you will have a chance to meet Hanlon’s charge, along with champion greyhound Born Warrior, this Friday night.
“My brother does all the greyhounds, they won the derby in Dublin a couple of weeks ago and they’re after having a ball. We’ll bring him into the greyhound track at 8pm on Friday evening. As far as I know, they’re not charging either (on the gate), so it’ll be a good night out. He’s bringing in the dog, I’m bringing in the horse and that’s the end of it then.”
“We had a great day yesterday evening. He’s a real public horse, the people love him. He’d remind you of Danoli. He’s a cheap horse, any man’s horse. He’s won the Bet365, the Galway Plate, unlucky not to win the Kerry National before heading to America. He travels well wherever he goes and he showed that last night.”
And what next for Hewick? As he has suggested to Scoreline and KCLR in recent interviews, there’s one target on Hanlon’s mind for the new year.
“He’s on a break now, gets the time off until after Christmas when he’ll be going to the (Cheltenham) Gold Cup in March. It’s not that far away so he’ll want six or eight weeks off to get himself ready. He might go for an English national after that but we’ve nothing really planned, one step at a time.”
Watch: Hewick wins the 2022 American Grand National