Man of the moment Gavin Sheehan is keen to see if his Ladbrokes King George VI Chase mount Hewick has the required class to shake up the big guns at Kempton.
Sheehan has seen his career gather momentum following his link with Jamie Snowden and the pair have teamed up this season to win the Coral Gold Trophy through Datsalrightgino, with Sheehan also landing the December Gold Cup on Richard Hobson’s Fugitif.
Shark Hanlon’s Hewick was ridden to Galway Plate and American Grand National glory by Jordan Gainford, but he is currently on the sidelines with injury and while Rachael Blackmore partnered him to win at Sandown in April she is riding at Leopardstown.
After surveying his options for a few days, Hanlon sided with Sheehan and the jockey is looking forward to another big opportunity.
“He’s a nice ride to pick up. You are up against very good horses, but we are there to take our chance,” said Sheehan.
“He’s very much a people’s horse now isn’t he, and I’m looking forward to him.
“He’s got a little bit of toe, he’s run around a sharp, right-handed undulating track so a sharp flat track shouldn’t bother him and he’s got stamina as well.
“It’s just whether he’s got that class, that is what we need to find out.”
He added: “Shark is bullish, but he always is! He said the horse is in great form, he did a piece of work the other day and really surprised him.
“It’s a big race on a big day and a big ride for me – I’m looking forward to it.
“Things are going well, but you can’t count your chickens before they are hatched in this game – you just take each day as it comes.”