Hewick will have top-weight to defy if he is to add the €200,000 Guinness Kerry National at Listowel on Wednesday week to an impressive recent haul of success.
Shark Hanlon’s charge recorded a famous win in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April and shone again on another big stage when taking the Tote Galway Plate six weeks ago.
Hanlon previously won the Guinness Kerry National with Alfa Beat in 2011 and Hewick, owned by T.J. McDonald, is one of 36 horses entered for the Listowel Harvest Festival highlight in nine days’ time.
The entry also features the two most recent winners of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, the Dermot McLoughlin-trained Lord Lariat and Freewheelin Dylan.
Joseph O'Brien won the Guinness Kerry National for the first time with Assemble last year and has made an entry of seven, including 2020 Galway Plate winner Early Doors, this year’s Galway Plate runner-up Darasso, Busselton and Fire Attack.
Willie Mullins has four entries (Rock Road, El Barra, Bacardys and Recite A Prayer) as he chases a fourth success in the race while two-time winner Gordon Elliott has also made four entries, AXA Insurance Midlands National winner Hurricane Georgie, Tullybeg, Hermann Clermont and Glenloe.
A winner at the Punchestown in April, Donkey Years is one of three entries for Eric McNamara who has three wins in the race to his name. This season’s Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase winner Gabbys Cross and Gin On Lime could bid to give Henry de Bromhead a second Kerry National after victory for the Rachael Blackmore-ridden Poker Party in 2019.
Neil Mulholland has entered Exelerator Express and other notable early contenders include the Emmet Mullins-trained Cape Gentleman, Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump and The Jam Man, trained by Ronan McNally.
Pat Healy, chairperson of Listowel Races, said: “I am delighted to see such strength in depth for this year’s renewal of the Guinness Kerry National. It’s a race that has produced so many memorable winners and is without doubt, the showpiece of our seven-day festival. I’d like to thank all the trainers and owners for supporting the Guinness Kerry National, and indeed the entire Listowel Harvest Festival race programme. We look forward to welcoming racegoers to Listowel from this Sunday onwards.”
The seven-day Listowel Harvest Festival starts on Sunday, September 18th.