Harry Fry: I'm excited to get Minella Awards started over fences
After the summer break, the leading National Hunt trainer is back to preview the season ahead, starting with this weekend's meeting at Chepstow.
It’s great to be back with my first blog of the new campaign ahead of Chepstow’s two-day meeting, which is the unofficial start of the winter jumps season.
Thankfully, the much-needed rain has started to fall over the last few days as we have been so dry in this part of the world. Exeter had to abandon their meeting this week because of dangerously fast ground.
Anyway, plenty of mine have been raring to go for a while so the rain is a welcome relief. We’ve got 80 in again this season, including a lot of young exciting horses who will start off in bumpers.
I’m hoping there might be a few gems among them and they are joined by a few returning stars…
Unowhatimeanharry is back and doesn’t know he is 10!
Last season didn’t really go according to plan for Unowhatimeanharry, but he’s back after another wind operation and seems really well.
He doesn’t know he’s 10 years old and he could well start out in the race he won at Aintree last season.
There’s also the option of the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury where he wouldn’t have to shoulder a penalty either.
If The Cap Fits could start out at Kempton next weekend
If The Cap Fits was unlucky last season as injury cut short his novice campaign and a planned tilt at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The time off has done him the world of good and he’s bloomed over the summer.
Depending on the weather he could start out at Kempton next weekend, but we’d want some rain just to ensure it’s nice safe ground.
We can then see where we go after that and he’ll have entries in races like the Greatwood and the Fighting Fifth.
The Last Samuri a welcome addition to the team
We’re very lucky to have a high-profile new addition to the team in the shape of The Last Samuri. He’s been with us just over a month so we are still just getting to know him.
Kim Bailey did a wonderful job with him and if we have half as much success I would be delighted.
He’s always seemed to thrive over the National fences so a race like the Becher Chase would be an obvious target. There are plenty of options for him as he finished third in the Cross Country Chase at the Festival last season too.
Chepstow on Saturday
Onto this weekend’s action and I run three on what looks a really competitive card at Chepstow.
My first runner is Defintelyanoscar in the mares’ novices’ hurdle (3.05pm). She seems well and is ready to go having done well over the summer.
After winning her bumper at Market Rasen, she then ran well again to finish a good second at Cheltenham in April.
I’m looking forward to seeing her get started here and she jumps nicely having already won a point-to-point. It looks a tough race, though, with the likes of Posh Trish in the line-up.
I run two in the big race of the day, the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (4.45pm).
Golden Birthday carries top weight in what will be his first hurdle race for over a year. He’s unique in that five of his 10 career wins have come in different disciplines.
He has won on both the turf and all-weather on the Flat, as well as winning his bumper, over hurdles and over fences – not many horses can boast that!
This won’t be easy, and he’s 12lbs higher in the weights than that last run over timber. He is fit, though, and Kieron Edgar takes off a valuable 3lbs.
Noel Fehily rides Dashing Oscar who seems to go particularly well fresh.
He won first time up at Bangor in November 2016 and followed that up by winning well on his reappearance at Fontwell last October.
That was part of our reasoning for starting this campaign in a race like this and he’s another who seems in good form.
I’m hoping he can go well and if he can hit the frame I’ll be delighted.
Chepstow on Sunday
I’ve only got the one runner on Sunday and that’s Minella Awards who makes his chasing debut in the novices’ chase (2.50pm).
He hasn’t been seen since running a cracker to be second off a big weight over hurdles at Galway and we have always felt he would make a lovely chaser.
This looks a nice introduction for him and I’m excited to get him started over fences. He’s pleased us at home and has schooled nicely.
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