Tag Archive for: Ladbrokes King George VI Chase

Shark has King George attack on the radar for Hewick

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon is gearing Hewick up for a crack at the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase, providing conditions at Kempton prove suitable over the Christmas period.

The Boxing Day feature has an open look to it following the Betfair Chase defeat of Bravemansgame and Nicky Henderson’s struggles to get Shishkin a prep run and as such, Hanlon is keen to throw Hewick’s hat into the ring having been successful on raiding missions in the past.

The eight-year-old, who was famously picked up for just €850, has won the American Grand National on his travels before, as well as progressing from winning the Durham National to win land both the Bet365 Gold Cup and John Oaksey Chase at Sandown in the past two seasons.

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon with Hewick at his stable in Bagenalstown
John ‘Shark’ Hanlon with Hewick at his stable in Bagenalstown (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

However, ground conditions will prove crucial in deciding where Hewick lines up for his seasonal reappearance, with Leopardstown’s Savills Chase (December 28) also on the radar.

“He’s entered in the King George which looks a possibility at the minute,” Hanlon said.

“A lot will depend on the ground and with the weather the way it is at the minute, if we don’t have goodish ground I won’t run him. He wants good ground.

“We’re after getting a month of rain in the last fortnight and meetings are still being called off in England this week.

“If the ground is anywhere near good at Kempton he will go to Kempton. With the results over there in the last couple of weeks you would have to think he would have a real chance.”

Hewick was running a massive race in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup when taking a crushing fall at the second-last and another shot at the blue riband is central to the gelding’s plans this season.

His Christmas outing at either Kempton or Leopardstown could be the only time Hewick is sighted before March, with his handler keen to arrive at Prestbury Park with a horse at the peak of his powers.

Hewick (right) in action at Sandown in the Oaksey Chase
Hewick (right) in action at Sandown in the Oaksey Chase (Steven Paston/PA)

“He’s in real good form and we’re kind of training him for a Gold Cup, that’s the plan,” continued Hanlon.

“He ran very well in it last year and he will go fresh to it this year. He will probably only have one run before he goes and I would love to go to Kempton, but we’re kind of dependent on the ground and it is the same with Leopardstown, wherever the ground is best he will go.

“We’ll put him away then and have a crack at the big one.”