- The Shark Hanlon-trained horse was given 12-1 odds by bookies in historic race
- Hewick costs just £800 but come from last to first to claim a remarkable victory
- Jockey Gavin Sheehan admitted he might have considered calling an early halt
Hewick – a horse who cost just £800 – came from last to first to win a remarkable Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Trained by Shark Hanlon and ridden by man of the moment Gavin Sheehan, he looked to have no chance at all for most of the race.
Shishkin had taken up the running from Frodon with over a mile to run and injected pace which had seemed too much for Hewick (12-1).
Turning into the straight Shishkin was going the best, with Bravemansgame and Allaho being ridden to keep in touch.
Over the second-last Shishkin was still seemingly in control, but having jumped the fence perfectly well he lost his footing a stride or two after, unseating Nico de Boinville.
Hewick clinched a remarkable victory at Kempton after coming from last place to win
Jockey Gavin Sheehan (second right) celebrates Hewick winning The Ladbrokes King George VI Chase alongside trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon (second left) and owner TJ McDonald (right)
Hewick (right, green) clears the last to win the race from Harry Cobden and Bravemansgame (orange) and Paul Townend riding Allaho (red)
That left Allaho in front and he was being challenged again by Bravemansgame, but coming into contention and just hitting full stride was Hewick.
Sheehan got a great jump out of him at the last and he swept on by to win by a length and a half from last year’s winner Bravemansgame.
The rider even admitted he might have considered calling an early halt with his charge in other circumstances.
He told ITV Racing: ‘If it wasn’t the King George, I probably would have pulled up!
‘I knew that he stays and stays and I just wasn’t able to get going. There’s only a certain amount of questions you can ask them and if they’re not responding, you can’t ask.
‘Shark said he’s probably the smallest horse here but he’s got the biggest heart and that perfectly sums him up.
‘I was absolutely delighted to get the call from Shark (to ride), it was a no-brainer. To come here and do it like that was amazing.’
Hanlon said: ‘It’s unreal. I said to Gavin ‘listen, he will stay all day’ but they went very hard and he just couldn’t lay up with them.
‘On a tougher track it will be a better job for him, but we are here today and he won which is amazing.
‘Coming out of the back I thought we’d definitely be in the first three because he was just getting into a rhythm and just getting going. They were going plenty hard in front.
‘We knew coming here there were three or four front-runners and if we were able to lay up with them we’d be happy.
‘He cost £800 and I was watching a programme in the week and Ruby (Walsh) knocked him and I said ‘we’re flying now’ because every time Ruby knocks him we win!
Hanlon believes that Hewick’s win on Boxing Day proves that anything is possible in racing
‘Straight to Cheltenham now. It’s probably the wrong race as he should go for the English National but there is only one Gold Cup.’
He added: ‘He definitely needs better ground. He is a better horse on good ground. The ground today was lovely. I feel very sorry for Jordan Gainford (out injured) as he made this horse. He minded him when he had to be minded. Jordan will be back for Cheltenham, but if he is not we have a good man to take his place.
‘Everywhere last season where I went was too soft, bar America where the ground was perfect for him. There were six runners today and I never thought he should be 12-1.
‘It doesn’t usually happen like this when you buy an £800 horse, but we made it work with Skyace and we have made it work with him.
‘He is as tough a horse in England or Ireland you will find. The people of Ireland and England love him as well. If you are not in you can’t win and he has shown that anything is possible.’