Emotional Shark Hanlon dedicates American Grand National win to Jack De Bromhead 3 months ago

Emotional Shark Hanlon dedicates American Grand National win to Jack De Bromhead

John 'Shark' Hanlon called it the luckiest day of his life the day he bought 'Hewick' for only โ‚ฌ800 in Goresbridge.

Ever since, the horse has become 'the one-in-a-million' every owner dreams of.

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The fairytale began back in April, when, at odds of 16/1, Hewick strode away from the field to land the Bet 365 Gold Cup at Sandown. It continued into July then when the same thing happened in Ballybrit, as one of the smallest horses in the race obliged to win the Galway Plate.

There was a bump in the road back in September when, with the race at his mercy, Hewick fell at the last fence in the Kerry National but the horse and his partner-in-crime, young jockey Jordan Gainford, were back in business at Far Hills racecourse on Saturday night.

Some are calling 'the Fairytale of New Jersey' as the 4/6 favourite stole away to take the American Grand National and the โ‚ฌ160,000 prize.

Afterwards, the Carlow based trainer was visibly emotional as he paid tribute to the late Jack De Bromhead, son of Henry, who died in a pony racing accident earlier this year.

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"I just have to say that there was an accident in Ireland with Jack De Bromhead," said Hanlon.

"And we're all thinking of him. My young lad that led up the horse was his best friend, and he cried there, and he said 'this is for Jack.'

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"He travelled so well," the Shark continued.

"Everyone was saying that the trip was too short, that we were wrong to come here, but he has a lot more pace than people think he has. Look, it's a dream come through for us. 'Tis my own young lad looking after him."

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As for the nickname, the Shark, Hanlon described how it all came about on American television.

"You can play poker with me, I'm very bad at it. It all came from a hurling game many years ago in Ireland, and I wasn't very good, but I was awkward and a lad would find it hard to mark me. And I thrown out the ball to the full forward coming in, and he got a goal, and a couple of minutes after, a ball came down, thrown out the other ball, in and got another goal.

"A lad ran in across the field then, he used to hurl for Kilkenny, and he turned to the lad that was marking me and said 'if you don't cut the head off that 'Shark' he says, we can forget about it. From that day to this, I'm Shark!"