Harry Fry: Overtown Express will absolutely love the conditions
The Betway ambassador is hoping for a big run from one of his two runners at Sandown on Saturday after a busy week battling the snow.
We were hit with five inches of snow on Thursday evening, so myself, Anthony Honeyball and Jack Barber have since been taking shifts harrowing the gallops.
I was on shift until just after midnight, Anthony Honeyball took over until 3am and then Jack Barber came in and was still out there at 5am.
It was certainly a first being out on the gallops at midnight. I didn’t even manage to see it through to midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Thanks to all their efforts we’ve managed to keep the gallops open and we’ve managed to ride out most of the yard.
A few of the horses have been enjoying the snow. Minella Awards seems absolutely full of himself and the white surroundings have given a few of them an excuse to buck and squeal.
Update on Unowhatimeanharry
Barry Geraghty said he was very happy with Unowhatimeanharry around three out in last weekend’s Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he completely emptied after the second last.
When he came back it was clear to see why that may have been the case as he was bleeding from the nose, so we’re just going easy with him for now.
He would have had to be at his very best to get near the winner, Paisley Park.
It was as impressive a performance as we’ve seen all season, and I think it’s safe to say he’s stamped his authority on the stayers’ division.
Even taking into account the Irish challengers, Paisley Park is on a rapid upward curve and looks the one they all have to beat.
Sandown on Saturday
Sandown seem pretty confident that the meeting will go ahead, but there’s no doubt that the ground will be very testing once all the snow melts.
I’ve got two going there, starting with Winston C in the opening novices’ hurdle (12.40).
Noel Fehily got off him on the last day at Wincanton and said that he absolutely loved the soft ground.
Sean Bowen rides, as Noel isn’t quite feeling 100 per cent. Although he was back riding last week, he’s still not quite himself so he’s taking it easy.
Winston C obviously has to carry a penalty here after winning his last race. He will have to give weight away all round, but hopefully he can take another step in the right direction.
Hopefully he runs another good race, and we’ll then look at coming back to Sandown for the Imperial Cup in March.
Overtown Express is a real mudlark and we’re looking forward to him running in the handicap chase (13:15).
He’ll absolutely love the conditions – the slower the better.
He hasn’t had his ground all winter yet and the handicapper has dropped him a bit so we’re hoping for a big run.
We’ve had to keep him back for quite a while with it being such a dry winter, so hopefully our patience will be rewarded.
Elsewhere on the card, we’ve got Buveur D’Air to look forward to in the Contenders’ Hurdle, and a fascinating renewal of the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.
Nobody is unbeatable, as we saw at Kempton on Boxing Day, but obviously Buveur D’Air is very hard to oppose.
It’s going to be slower ground than he encountered at Kempton and I think that will be to his liking.
In the Scilly Isles, Vinndication could be the one to side with. He doesn’t know what it feels like to lose, but will certainly be tested by Lostintranslation and Defi Du Seuil.
Looking further ahead, If The Cap Fits remains on track to run in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell, while Bags Groove will go for the Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton.
Jolly’s Cracked It probably won’t run at Newbury next Saturday, but may head to Wincanton for the Betway Kingwell Hurdle in a fortnight’s time or the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Valentine’s Day.
We’ve entered both American and The Last Samuri in the Grand National. They’re both in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, too, though that’s not certain to be where either of them will go next.
With American, we’ll just go wherever the softest ground is, while The Last Samuri could go for the Eider Chase or Grimthorpe Chase as well.
Elsewhere, Bullionaire is all set to get his season underway over hurdles at Exeter next Sunday.
He’s a very exciting horse for the yard and we’re really looking forward to having him back on the track.
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