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US Grand National champion Hewick chases Cheltenham Gold Cup success



There are not many bargains you can buy for $950, but superstar racehorse Hewick has proved just that for trainer John Hanlon.

Purchased in October 2017 by connections, Hewick now stands on the edge of sporting folklore as he bids to land Jump racing’s biggest event, the Cheltenham Gold Cup at next week’s Cheltenham Festival. For Hanlon, whose nickname Shark comes from a hurling game back when he was 18 in which he was “big and awkward and kept a full-back busy”, his stable star has now pocketed almost $500,000 in prize money.

Hewick is currently a 20/1 shot in the Cheltenham betting Gold Cup list.

American racing fans will be familiar with the Hewick story following his brilliant win in the US Grand National at Far Hills, New Jersey, in October, 2022 when he powered to an eleven and a half-length success.

There has been further cause for celebration in the Hewick story as the eight-year-old was recently crowned the US’ champion steeplechaser at the glitzy Eclipse Awards, in which he received 113 of the 246 votes cast, highlighting just how popular his victory has been across both sides of the Atlantic.

Since then, the Hewick legend has been cemented when footage appeared of Hanlon bringing his stable star along with him for a celebratory pint of Guinness at his local pub. One thing is for sure, there will no doubt be plenty more pints of the black stuff will be sunk were he to be victorious at Cheltenham.

Groomer Emma Fullilov stands near Proven Innocent a four year old racing horse before the start of 101st annual Far Hills Race Meeting in Far Hills on October 15, 2022.Alexandra Pais | For NJ Advance Media

Looking ahead to his date with Gold Cup destiny, a key factor which could boost Hewick’s chances is the ensuing dry spell which has hit Great Britain. A six-time winner on ground described as Good, quicker conditions are likely at Prestbury Park which will greatly aid his chances in a contest that features runners from the Irish powerhouse yards of Willie Mullins, Henry de Bromhead and Gordon Elliott.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup, for which Hewick is a 20/1 shot, is synonymous with some of the biggest names the sport of horse racing has ever seen. Think Arkle, Dawn Run, Desert Orchid, Best Mate and Kauto Star. Now Hewick, the first horse in history to land a US Grand National en-route to a Gold Cup tilt, chases his own slice of history.

The Cheltenham Festival consists of 28 races spread out over four days (seven per day), from Tuesday, March 14 to Friday, March 17. The first race starts at 1:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. EDT) and the last goes to post at 5:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EDT).

Here is a full list of races for the four-day festival:

Champion Day – Tuesday, March 14

  • 13:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
  • 14:10 Arkle Challenge Trophy
  • 14:50 Handicap Steeple Chase
  • 15:30 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
  • 16:10 Mares’ Hurdle
  • 16:50 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
  • 17:30 National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 15

  • 13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
  • 14:10 Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase
  • 14:50 Coral Cup Hurdle
  • 15:30 Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • 16:10 Cross-Country Steeple Chase
  • 16:50 Grand Annual Handicap Chase
  • 17:30 Champion Bumper

St Patrick’s Thursday – Thursday, March 17

  • 13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase
  • 14:10 Pertemps Network Final Hurdle
  • 14:50 Ryanair Chase
  • 15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle
  • 16:10 County Plate Chase
  • 16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
  • 17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 17

  • 13:30 Triumph Hurdle Jump
  • 14:10 Country Handicap Hurdle
  • 14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
  • 15:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
  • 16:10 Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase
  • 16:50 Mares’ Chase
  • 17:30 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
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