PREVIOUSLY written about in this column as a bargain of the week, following his success in the Grade 3 bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, Hewick continued his ascent up the chasing ranks with a comprehensive win in the Grade A Tote Galway Plate, in spite of the best efforts of a loose horse to derail him.
When the gelding won in Britain, trainer Shark Hanlon made the great quote that “a good cow would cost as much,” and how right he is. The seven-year-old son of Virtual (Pivotal) cost Rachel O’Neill, Hanlon’s partner, a mere €850 at Goresbridge as a two-year-old, and this bargain-hunting comes on the back of their purchase of Grade 1 winner Skyace for £600! After winning more than £100,000, Skyace sold in March for £80,000.
Hewick is out of the unraced Ballyburn Rose, a daughter of Oscar (Sadler’s Wells) who also sold twice at Goresbridge, for €300 as a foal and €1,400 four years ago. Hewick was bred by William Quinn, owner of Ballyburn Stud in Castledermot, Co Kildare, and the mare now has a two-year-old colt by Shirocco (Monsun) who was bred by Tom and Paul Stapleton, and a colt foal by Affinisea (Sea The Stars) bred by Jim Davis.
The Group 1 Lockinge Stakes winner Virtual stood for a few seasons at Cheveley Park Stud before moving to Woodlands Stud in Galway. Hewick is by some way his best runner under both rules. On the dam side of the family, the Galway Plate winner comes from a female line that has been good to Jim Mernagh over many years, though Wednesday’s hero is the best runner in a branch of the family that had been quiet enough for a few removes.
Ballyburn Rose is a daughter of three-time hurdle winner Bramble Fair (Montelimar). That mare was disappointing at stud, three of her six foals not being named, and just one of them managed to be placed over hurdles. Bramble Fair was one of two winning offspring from the unraced Gold Label (Deep Run). She was the only offspring of her dam Bardicate (Bargello) not to race, but she bred a couple of winners and is third dam of Martello Tower (Milan). He won the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and was bred by Martin Cullinane at his Mount Brown Farm in Galway.
At Galway, on Plate day, Martin received The Irish Field award at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association lunch.
Hewick’s fourth dam Bardicate was a twin and did not race. She produced a dozen foals at stud, all but one of which raced. Nine of these won on the racecourse and were headed by Deep Bramble (Deep Run) and Polyfemus (Pollerton). The former was a Grade 1 winner of the Ericsson Chase and his other big race successes included the Grade A Kerry National at Listowel and a pair of top chases at Sandown. Polyfemus gained the biggest of his four wins in the Listed Mandarin Chase at Newbury.
Two daughters of Bardicate bred blacktype winners over jumps. Bumper winner Miss Dunbrody (Le Prince) bred the Grade 3 winning hurdler Kilcarbery (Mandalus), while Ramble Bramble (Random Shot) deserves special mention. She is dam of the Grade 3 Midlands Grand National winner Seven Towers (Roselier), and grandam of Grade 3 chase winner Teeming Rain (Supreme Leader), the latter also being placed in the Grade A Leopardstown Chase.