Hewick could head straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup after lining up in the 101st running of the American Grand National at Far Hills in New Jersey on October 15th.

The two-mile-five-furlong American Grand National has been a boon to European runners in the recent past with the likes of Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson all sending horses to contest the prize, which is worth $250,000 this year.

The Shark Hanlon-trained seven-year-old staying chaser has made rapid strides in recent months and was unlucky in the Midlands Grand National, when carried out at the third-last having travelled sweetly.

Hewick, owned by T.J. McDonald, then landed both the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and the Galway Plate.

He looked poised to become only the second horse since Dorans Pride in 1997 to win the Kerry National Handicap while conceding weight to all rivals at Listowel, but unseated Jordan Gainford when upsides eventual winner Busselton at the last.

Hanlon is already mulling over options beyond the American National, in which European jumpers have had plenty of success, including winning back-to-back runnings in 2018 and 2019 with Jury Duty and Brain Power respectively.

“We are going to America with him and the flights are set, the plane is booked and he’s definitely going,” said Hanlon. “He flies out on October 6th.”

Of Hewick’s Kerry National mishap, the handler added: “I was heartbroken. He had the race at his mercy. He was well the best horse in the race.

“Given the weight he carried (11st 12lb), it was an unreal performance. He was giving the winner 21lb or something and for any horse to give a good horse 21lb is an awful lot of weight.

“He is a freak. Lucky enough I have the freak!

“He came home out of the race in great form and he went up 4lb after it. He’s gone up to a mark of 167.”

Hanlon added: "After America, I think he will get a couple of months off and I will probably go back straight to Cheltenham for March.

“You’ll be talking coming back in December after a couple of months off, and we might give him a prep run and we might not. We have it in the back of our heads to go straight to the Gold Cup.

“The good thing about this horse is he is not a big horse and he takes very little work. From Galway up until now, he’d done one little bit of work with me at the Curragh.

“If he was a big, gross horse, he would take an awful lot of work, but this horse doesn’t need that.”

Hanlon also highlighted Hewick’s trip versatility, although any plans for a tilt at the Grand National for the 2023 renewal are not yet on the radar.

“He is versatile – anywhere between two miles and four,” said the handler.

“We were unlucky in the Uttoxeter National, in that he got carried out and but for that, he probably would have won that.

“He would have won the Kerry National, so he’d have won two more races but for unfortunate things happening.

“We will go Gold Cup first. He is only a young horse, only a seven-year-old and he hasn’t had too many runs over fences, so we might hold off going for the Aintree National next year.”