Shark Hanlon’s Hewick ran out a highly impressive winner of the Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Sandown last season, the feature contest on the British season finale card.
In doing so, the seven-year-old earned his connections over £90,000 in prize money. Not bad for a horse that cost just €850. But of course, Hanlon already has form in the book with turning rags to riches.
Just last season he sent Skyace out to win a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse. That mare was bought for just £600 out of Willie Mullins’s yard. She was sold by her syndicate earlier this year for £80,000.
Hewick is worth significantly more than his initial price tag now as well, as he’s only a seven-year-old, and by winning so well on Saturday, he earned himself betting quotes for the Grand National next season.
He was given a cool ride by the up-and-coming Jordan Gainford, who sat patiently back in the pack chasing runaway leader Step Back, and timed his run perfectly - his horse able to pull further clear of his rivals after he jumped the last.
“He was a very good walker,” Hanlon replied when asked about what attracted him to buy Hewick as a young horse. “I love a good walker and I just said at the price, he was the same price as a cow!
“I think this horse would go well in a National some day. He’s tough and you need a tough horse for the National.”
Back at home, dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song made her comeback in the Vintage Crop Stakes but could only manage second to her younger brother Kyprios.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt made up for plenty of lost time through a setback last year with an impressive performance and could be aimed at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next.