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Pointers on Track

Galway Plate joy for Shark and Gainford

Hewick landed his second big handicap of 2022 when he defied late interference by a loose horse to claim the Tote Galway Plate.
Always front frank, the seven-year-old was left disputing the lead five-out with the departure of the pace-setting Fire Attack as the challengers began to stack up.
However once edging clear aided by two big leaps at the final two fences, the Virtual gelding had looked to have victory in the €270,000 contest sewn-up only for a loose horse to carry him across the track and almost cost him a famous success.
Darasso was able to close to within half-a-length however Hewick was able to regain his momentum in the dying strides to prevail for Jordan Gainford and trainer Shark Hanlon.
The pair had already won the Grade 3 Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in the spring with the point-to-point graduate who had won three times in four-year-old maidens for the Carlow handler without completing.
Victory for the winning Wexford rider, was one of the biggest successes to date in his burgeoning career since leaving the point-to-point fields in early 2021, whilst Hanlon was looking to potential bigger targets with the seven-year-old following this latest victory.
"He could be a Gold Cup horse, it might just suit him," said Hanlon. "When you have a good horse you need to try and mind them. He's not overly big, so the National fences might not suit him just yet, but he's only seven so he could still go for a National in time perhaps.
“He will go to Kerry now for the Kerry National, that was my plan for the race and we will stick with that.”
There was further Graded success in Ballybrit when the ex-Colin Bowe Knockmullen House scorer Visionarian claimed the Grade 3 Guinness Novice Chase for Peter Fahey, whilst Gabbys Cross, who also started his racing career point-to-pointing in County Wexford when winning at Monksgrange for Bernie Murphy, enjoyed his biggest success to date in the valuable Galway Blazers Handicap Chase. 
Meanwhile, the ex-Pat Doyle pointer Champ Kiely remained undefeated for his new trainer Willie Mullins when taking a maiden hurdle by 21 lengths.

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