A race horse purchased for simply £800, or the worth of a cow in line with its proprietor, could be top-of-the-line investments in racing historical past.
Shark Hanlon, a former cattle breeder from County Kilkenny, purchased Hewick in 2017 from a race-horse service provider in Goresbridge “simply 5 minutes down the street” from the place he lived.
However the eight-year-old gelding known as Hewick has already repaid his homeowners 100 occasions over in winnings and will add to the tally in Friday’s Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
Hewick, which will likely be ridden by Irish jockey Jordan Gainford, is 16/1 to win the showpiece race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, behind favorite Galopin Des Champs (15/8) and the reigning champion, A Plus Tard (7/1).
Six years and eight wins after shopping for the horse, 56-year-old Mr Hanlon nonetheless can’t fairly consider his luck.
“At 850 euros, he was some worth – the worth of a cow!” he mentioned.
“There was nobody there to purchase him on the day, he was a younger horse, and I used to be simply fortunate to select him up, that’s all. I noticed the horse and I cherished him, and I used to be fortunate to get him.
“I appreciated him as a result of he was a great walker and every thing. Pay attention, with lots of horses you’re simply hoping that considered one of them will change into a star and this one did,” he informed The Telegraph.
“Lots of people purchase horses and so they’re no good,” he added. “He’s one of many fortunate ones.”
The worth of race horses varies between a number of thousand to tens of thousands and thousands of kilos, with the file sale at £53.7 million for a thoroughbred stallion in 2000.
Mr Hanlon mentioned he has gained round £800,000 in prize cash with Hewick till now, with an extra £625,000 at stake in tomorrow’s Gold Cup.
The gelding claimed two main handicap chase successes in 2022 within the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park and the Galway Plate, earlier than happening to American Grand Nationwide success at Far Hills, New Jersey, in October.
And after right this moment’s run, Mr Hanlon plans to ship Hewick to Aintree for the Grand Nationwide on April 15, including that the coveted handicap steeplechase is the horse’s “supreme” race.
“We’ll see what’s going to occur within the Gold Cup. I don’t know if he’ll be adequate for it. There are lots of horses in the Gold Cup which have a number of little ‘ifs’ about them.
“Willie Mullins’s horse [Galopin Des Champs] – does he keep the journey? We all know that Hewick will keep the journey and we’ll make loads of use of him. He’d undoubtedly then go on to the Nationwide … and it’s most likely supreme for him,” he added.
Whereas his proprietor may put his horse’s large success right down to sheer luck, Hewick’s ancestry tells a barely totally different story.
His father, Digital, is a thoroughbred race horse, bred and owned by Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket, who gained the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in 2009.
And Hewick even comes from a bloodline of Cheltenham contenders.
Russell Ferris, the top of Weatherbys, which researches thoroughbred pedigrees, mentioned: “Discount purchase Hewick has Cheltenham connections additional down his pedigree – should you look laborious sufficient.
“His nice grandmother, Gold Label, was the good grandmother of Cheltenham Pageant winner Martello Tower. His nice, nice grandmother was the mom of Deep Bramble – a top-class horse who was crushed twice within the Cheltenham Gold Cup.”
Even when Hewick isn’t first previous the submit this afternoon, he has already made a reputation for himself again house in Bagenalstown, County Carlow, the place he’s allowed into the native pub.
“He gained the American Grand Nationwide final yr and there have been about 300 or 400 folks down there who needed to see him, so we ended up bringing him into the native, the Pint Depot,” Mr Hanlon mentioned.