Guinness-loving horse bought for less than price of a cow is on course for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory on St Patrick’s Day
A GUINNESS-loving horse bought for less than the price of a cow is on course for a taste of Cheltenham Gold Cup glory on St Patrick’s Day.
Hewick, which cost just £800, will prove the luck really is with the Irish if he lands the festival’s blue riband race today.
PAHewick in action at Sandown Park in April last year[/caption]
Hewick made headlines last October when John ‘Shark’ Hanlon took him into his local pub, The Pint Depot, and let him have a slurp of GuinnessSocial Media Collect
-Commissioned by The Sun DublinHanlon with the horse and exercise jockey Matthew Rigney, said: ‘Hewick is like me, he is fond of the Guinness’[/caption]
The eight-year-old was purchased by Co Carlow-based trainer John “Shark” Hanlon for the knock-down price and is now a lively outsider for the big race.
The horse made headlines last October when Hanlon took him into his local pub, The Pint Depot, and . Hanlon with the horse and exercise jockey Matthew Rigney, said: “let him have a slurp of Guinness”
He added: “The story is brilliant. To buy a horse like Hewick for £800 just never happens.
“You can buy a cow for more money than that.”
Despite his bargain price, Hewick has gone on to win £360,000 in prize money and landed the US Grand National.
It also won the Betway 365 Gold Cup at Sandown last year.
Now, it has a chance to claim the coveted Cheltenham race worth £351,000 to the winner.
Hanlon said: “There are a lot of horses in the Gold Cup that have a few little ‘ifs’ about them.
“We know that Hewick will stay the trip and we’ll make plenty of use of him.”
Asked what the celebrations would be like if Hewick could win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Hanlon concluded: “It’ll be unreal. If we can finish in the first three, we’ll be delighted.”
But at 40-1, it is a long shot to win. Hewick, ridden by Jordan Gainford, is up against the likes of highly fancied Bravemansgame, which was bought for £370,000. Even 50-1 shot Royal Pagaille cost £70,000.
Meanwhile, famous faces appeared at the racecourse yesterday for day three — named St Patrick’s Thursday. Among them was ex-footballer Peter Crouch, who was celebrating after backing Good Time Jonny in the second race of the day.
Other celebs included bearded actor James Nesbitt, Zara and Mike Tindall, Carol Vorderman, TV presenter Charlotte Hawkins, and Corrie star Mikey North.
Former football boss Harry Redknapp and former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond both had horses running.
Also at the course were Princes Anne and Sir Alex Ferguson, whose horse Protektorat is running in today’s Gold Cup.
Many racegoers wore green with four-leaf clovers, while some were dressed as leprechauns.
Lady Luck has already smiled on the Irish team, which has run away with the Prestbury Cup — the contest between Ireland and GB for the most winners.
And bookmaker BetVictor is offering odds of 3-1 that Irish horses greenwash the card today by winning all seven races.
Stage Star won the first race of the day yesterday to give his owners — all 3,500 of them — a day to remember. The Owners Group members paid £59 each for a share and took home a £28 share of the winnings.
Bookies were bolstered by two hot favourites getting turned over.
But they were stung when 33-1 outsider Sire Du Berlais won the Stayers’ Hurdle, despite the long price. They said it was a popular punt and branded it ”one of the worst results in recent memory”.