Hewick set for a break after Galway Plate effort

Shark Hanlon is in no rush to firm up the next plan of attack with Hewick after he finished down the field under a big weight in the Tote Galway Plate on Wednesday.

The eight-year-old was bidding for back-to-back wins in the Ballybrit feature, but after racing prominently he weakened to finish 14th of 20 finishers.

Hanlon believes the rain-softened ground was to blame for his stable star’s below-par performance and he will now give him a short break before returning him to competitive action later in the year.

“He’s come out of it perfect, the ground was just softer than he wants it and that’s it,” said the Bagenalstown handler.

“He obviously had a lot of weight and you can give away weight on good ground, but you can’t give away weight on soft ground.

“He ran a cracker until they came down the hill when the ground got soft.”

Following his Galway Plate success 12 months ago Hewick looked set to land another major handicap in the Kerry National at Listowel until unseating his rider at the final fence.

He famously sparked scenes of wild celebration by winning the American Grand National before being saved for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which he was still going well when falling two from home.

And while Hanlon is unsure on the route, he is keen to head back to Prestbury Park in March for another crack at National Hunt racing’s blue riband prize.

He added: “I don’t think we’ll go to Listowel this year as he’d have to give a lot of weight away again, maybe we’ll go back to America but we’ll see.

“We’re going to plan back from the Gold Cup, that’s what we’re doing. America might be in the plan and a run at Leopardstown over Christmas might be in it.

“I want to give him a bit of a break now. He’s gone back to the owner for a couple of weeks and we’ll see where we are after that.”

Source link