Shark hunting King George jockey for Hewick

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon has confirmed star chaser Hewick will line up in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day – but is on the hunt for a new jockey, with regular rider Jordan Gainford out injured.

Some of Hewick’s finest hours have come in the hands of Gainford, who has formed a brilliant association with the eight-year-old and was in the saddle when the duo tasted American Grand National glory in 2022.

However, he has missed out on Hewick’s last three outings through injury and, although Hanlon is adamant the ride remains Gainford’s when fit, the young pilot once again faces a spell on the sidelines following an injury suffered at Naas last week.

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John ‘Shark’ Hanlon with Hewick
John ‘Shark’ Hanlon with Hewick (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

“Hewick goes to Kempton for the King George, we’ve made up our minds this morning,” said Hanlon.

“We don’t know who is riding him yet, as Jordan Gainford got hurt, but we will wait and see.

“Jordan won’t be back in time, but hopefully he will come back all right, he got a bad fall. I was talking to him and he was happy and I told him Hewick will be his ride whenever he comes back, but he won’t be there for Kempton.

“We will just have to work out who will be there and who won’t be there and I have a few names at the top of my head, but we will have to wait and see.”

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