Shark Hanlon lands another big prize with '850 quid' purchase Hewick
He has a long way to go before he can claim bragging rights over stablemate Skyace, but Hewick proved another basement buy to have found his way into the winner's enclosure for Shark Hanlon.
A man who was dealing in cattle long before he was nicknamed Shark for his exploits on the hurling pitch, Hanlon knows a bargain when he sees it, and Hewick was exactly that.
Hanlon gave just €850 for the gelding at Goresbridge in 2017 and, whatever he saw in the horse that day, it was repaid in spades with Hewick bagging the €16,000 Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle under Jordan Gainford on Kerry National day.
"He’s very consistent and I was disappointed he didn’t get into the Kerry National,” Hanlon said. “I also had him entered in this race, so we said we’d come here.
“He loves the trip and the ground dried up, which was a big help. He loves good ground and I love having a winner at Listowel. He only cost 850 quid in Goresbridge and there is no doubt he’s a better chaser than over hurdles.”
Hanlon famously gave just £600 for his Grade 1-winning mare Skyace but, unlike his stable star, Hewick will not be kept on the go during the winter.
Hanlon said: “He ran at Perth the last day but the ground ended up soft and he was only beaten half a length. If he had won he could have gone up 5 or 6lb, which would have got him into the Kerry National. When the ground changes he’ll go out.”
Rocco keeps Elliott in rocking form
Gordon Elliott was out of luck in the feature Kerry National with none of his four runners managing to complete the race, but there was still plenty to smile about when Off Your Rocco became the trainer’s tenth winner since he returned in the Seamus Mulvaney Bookmaker Novice Hurdle.
The race seemed to be in the balance coming down to the second-last but when odds-on favourite Farout made a mistake, Off Your Rocco seized the opportunity and pulled well clear to win impressively under Jack Kennedy.
Elliott said: “Jack was very wise at Galway as he made a mistake at the first and he looked after him and gave him a good education. It paid dividends today.”
He added: “I’d say he could step up to two and a half miles as he looked like he was going as hard as he could early. I thought he was gutsy and stayed galloping.
“It’s great for the Pioneer Racing syndicate as they are all down here today enjoying the atmosphere and having a bit of fun. They have had plenty of success this year.”
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