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Hewick to miss 2023 Randox Grand National

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Hewick to miss 2023 Randox Grand National

After a crashing fall in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival last week, handler John Hanlon has announced that Hewick won’t be running in this year’s Randox Grand National on April 15th.

The eight-year-old made the headlines when winning the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last year and he was going extremely well in the Cheltenham blue riband contest and looking good towards the end of the race under the guidance of Jordan Gainford. As he moved closer to belying his 40/1 odds with a superb performance, the American Grand National winner took a tumble two from home.

Hanlon said: “We are very proud of the horse and thanks be to God he’s OK. He was going so well.

“He always hits a flat spot and he was just after coming out of it, and Jordan was very convinced that, while he might not have beaten the winner, he said, ‘I thought we might have been second’.”

The ground conditions weren’t ideal ahead of the race and Hanlon was considering not running him against the likes of Bravemansgame and Galopin Des Champs.

He continued: “If only the ground was better. He needs good ground and the ground would have been too soft for him, but he gave a goodish account of himself.

“I’d say the ground hasn’t been as soft for seven or eight years on the Friday.

“It was a tough decision to run. We walked the track twice – once at seven o’clock in the morning and again at 11 o’clock – and it was amazing how much it dried out between seven and eleven.

“He’d handle good ground. But in our country it would have been yielding to soft. It was tacky ground.”

Hewick will now be given a rest so that he can recover from his Gold Cup exertions and while the chances of him appearing in the Grand National are close to zero, he could be given a chance to defend his Bet365 Gold Cup crown.