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“I have to pinch myself to see if it’s true”; Bagenalstown’s John ‘Shark’ Hanlon celebrates historic American Grand National win

'Hewick' won the prestigious race with ten lengths to spare

Bagenalstown-based horse trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon is celebrating today (Sunday), following his horse’s historic win in the American Grand National. 

Hewick cost Hanlon just €850 at an auction in Goresbridge. The horse is no stranger to success, having won the Galway Plate earlier this year.

The horse romped to victory by ten lengths under Wexford jockey Jordan Gainford, netting a $250,000 prize pot in the process.

Speaking to KCLR News from New Jersey, John said “It’s unreal over here so it is. We’re all just ecstatic over the whole thing because to come over here with the horse and win this race means a lot to the yard, and a lot to me.”

John said that it’s not the first time that he’s had good luck from a bargain horse; “I bought two horses a couple of years ago. I bought him for €850 and I bought Skyace for €500, and in the last year and a half the two of them have won two Grade 1’s. I don’t think anyone ever done that in their life anyway.”

‘Shark’ also said that he plans to bring the horse home for a parade in Bagenalstown shortly, saying “When we get back, we will organise a parade for the horse maybe down as far as the Royal Oak or something like that. We will be having a little party when we get back.”

General Manager at Gowran Park and Wexford racecourse, KCLR’s Eddie Scally said “I’m just thrilled for Shark, Jordan and all the lads. A lot of people, myself included, thought he was mad going to America with the horse, but he’s proved us all wrong, and we’re delighted that he has.”