It can be prudent to listen when Shark Hanlon is particularly vocal about the chances of one of his runners in a big race. The last time he vigorously expressed his confidence, the horse went on to claim the trainer’s first Grade 1. With this in mind, it may be significant that he has been so outspoken about his Galway Plate contender Hewick. Check out our free tips page for daily content across all British and Irish racing.
Hewick was last seen over fences in April winning the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on the last day of the jumps season. That was a hugely impressive eight-length victory in what was a massively competitive race. The gelding is now rated 6lb higher which seems very generous indeed. The one possible concern you would have is this extended 2m6f trip is substantially shorter than the 3m5f at Sandown.
Despite these concerns, Hanlon said: “You’d be a little afraid it might be too short [the trip], but he has plenty of go about him and as long as he’s not taken off his feet in the first furlong or two I think he’ll go there with a real chance.”
As the handicapper took a conservative view on his big win, he could still be well handicapped. Hanlon certainly isn’t concerned about the extra weight that Hewick will have to carry on the day. The trainer stated: “He carried a lot of weight in Sandown, which was a tough race, and it didn’t bother him at all, so I’m not overworried about whatever weight he’ll carry. If he’s there at the bottom of the hill, it’ll take a fair one to beat him.”
Hewick would seem to have a cracking chance as long as he isn’t badly inconvenienced by the significant drop in trip. His form combined with the fact that he should still be ahead of the handicapper is enough to inspire hope. Shark Hanlon’s extreme confidence in his charge’s chances may prove telling and this is one to keep an eye on between now and the big race next Wednesday.
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