Harry Fry: No penalty for Unowhatimeanharry at Newbury
The Betway ambassador reflects on a successful weekend and says he's hoping for a big run from one of his stable stars in the Long Distance Hurdle.
Amongst the winners last week
All of the hard work that everybody has been putting in is now paying off. Last Saturday couldn’t have gone any better, with Black Mischief and If The Cap Fits both winning.
It was a hugely exciting day off the back of Jolly’s Cracked It rolling back the years the day before. There was as much satisfaction in getting him back on the racecourse and straight into winning form as anything we’ve ever achieved.
He’s come out of his race as good as we could have hoped and we’re already looking forward to getting him back for the valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot that he won in 2015.
The handicapper has taken quite a strong view of the form and put him up 9 lbs, but I suppose you’re not really supposed to win a race like that off top-weight in the manner that he did after more than 700 days off the track.
Then on Saturday, we had Black Mischief winning up at Haydock and If The Cap Fits at Ascot.
Dickie Johnson was flat out on Black Mischief turning out the back, but he was only just getting going by that point and he managed to make up plenty of ground. Full credit to Dickie for getting him up in the shadows of the post.
He’s now on a career-high mark of 142 and we’ll definitely be looking to stepping him back up in trip.
As for If The Cap Fits, he had to dig deep and it was quite a workmanlike performance.
He travelled in snatches and the race came plenty soon enough only two weeks after the Elite Hurdle, but we decided to take our chance and thankfully it paid off.
Noel [Fehily] was certainly of the opinion that we didn’t see him at his very best and, in some ways, it was a win that threw up more questions than answers.
He saw the trip out really well so it’s now got us thinking about whether we can go back down in distance or up in trip.
One race we are really keen on is the 2m 4f Betway Aintree Hurdle in April and, in between now and then, I’d say it’s most likely that we’ll go to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Christmas Hurdle.
One thing that is for sure is that it’s made up our mind about him sticking to hurdles for the season.
Elsewhere, we had Mantovani at Exeter who made a really pleasing debut, finishing third in a strong-looking juvenile hurdle.
He’ll have learnt plenty for that run and will be out again this side of Christmas. Hopefully he puts that bit of experience to good use and takes a bit of beating next time out.
Lightly Squeeze turned for home with us wondering how far he was going to win by but then didn’t look to see out the trip. We’ll find him a race over two miles at a flat track like Taunton next time.
Lastly, we were a bit disappointed with Deadringerforlove having gone all the way to Wetherby.
We thought she had a big chance after her Chepstow run but, for whatever reason, she didn’t fire.
The race may have come a little soon and I think it’s best to put a line through that and judge her on her next run.
Newbury on Friday
Bags Groove was an intended runner in the Grade 2 Berkshire Novices’ Chase, but he’s not been declared due to all the rain we’ve had.
He enjoys better ground and, seeing as we’d have been giving weight away to some very good horses, particularly La Bague Au Roi, we just decided there was a few too many negatives in his corner.
There’s a nice novices’ chase at Exeter next Friday and we’ll also enter him in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.
Unowhatimeanharry and Momella both take up their place in the Long Distance Hurdle (15:00).
Unowhatimeanharry is running in the race for the third time, having won it two years ago and finished runner up last season.
This is the first time he gets to run in the race with no penalty which might prove the key.
He’s getting weight from the two main market rivals, Sam Spinner and Wholestone, and has a nice run at Aintree over 2m 4f under his belt.
The step up to three miles is exactly what he wants and we’ve also decided to run him in first-time cheek pieces.
He‘d been running a little bit behind the bridle, so we thought it would make Barry’s [Geraghty] job a bit easier of getting him to travel into the race.
Overall, we’re really looking forward to it and hoping for a big run.
Momella joined us from Dan Skelton’s yard over the summer and makes her debut for us, though this is very much Plan B.
Plan A was to go to the Listed mares’ hurdle at Kempton on Monday but that was scuppered by quick ground.
This maybe isn’t ideal as she’s got plenty to find on ratings, but she has some nice form in the book from last season and we think she’s crying out for this trip.
We’ll learn plenty about her and, in being up against the boys first time out, there’s no pressure in some ways.
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