Harry Fry: Unowhatimeanharry's win has put retirement on hold
The Betway ambassador reflects on Unowhatimeanharry's victory in the Champions Stayers Hurdle before looking ahead to Saturday at Punchestown and Uttoxeter.
We came over to Punchestown with Unowhatimeanharry in hope rather than expectation as he hadn’t shown us much at all in his last two runs.
It was just a case of letting him take his chance while on his way to Martinstown for the summer.
After our first morning in Ireland, at Arthur Moore’s stables, he just started to come alive again.
I don’t know whether there is something in the Irish air but the change of scenery freshened him up and it’s worked out brilliantly.
In the paddock we could see the signs that he was back to himself, bouncing around and throwing his head around a bit ahead of the race.
He went on to jump and travel brilliantly throughout the race and Mark Walsh gave him a lovely ride.
Turning for home he was bang in there, and despite a few horses queuing up to take him on, Mark said that the horses joining him only spurred him on and he showed those great battling qualities once again.
He won by three lengths in the end and maybe even a bit cosily.
To be winning another Grade 1 on a big stage like the Punchestown Festival at 11 years of age is a huge achievement for the horse and a great credit to all the team.
As for his future, we were going to Punchestown very much thinking that it could have quite possibly been his last race.
We are now in a very different mindset about his future, but no decision has been made yet.
He’s absolutely fine today, he’s delighted with himself and is now heading back to Martinstown for a well-earned summer break.
We’ll see how he goes over the summer and he’ll tell us whether he’s ready to remain in training for another season.
Ruby the greatest
I was very lucky to have a small association with Ruby Walsh during my time working for Paul Nicholls.
He’s outstanding and is quite possibly the greatest jockey we will ever see. His ride on Kemboy was another masterclass and I’m delighted that, like with Noel Fehily, he could go out on his own terms.
He’s also got a perfect record for us, having ridden once and won once with Fletchers Flyer at Ascot five years ago!
Punchestown so far
Caribert was going well and then stopped very quickly in the 2m4f hurdle on Wednesday. It transpired that he bled which explains why his race ended so quickly. It’s disappointing but he’ll now go for his summer break.
On Thursday, Air Horse One ran well for a long way in first-time cheekpieces but may not have quite got home over three miles. He’ll be given a break and it’s likely we’ll drop him back in trip next season.
Captain Drake finished a place behind him back in 12th in the same race. The ground was too quick for him and he’s now one to look forward to going novice chasing next season.
Deadringerforlove would also have wanted it softer. It was a big step up in company for her but she’s fine after the race and still has a nice future ahead of her.
Punchestown on Saturday
Minella Awards has top-weight in the 3m7f handicap chase (15:10), which we won with Fletchers Flyer two years ago. We think he’ll relish the trip and we’re really looking forward to running him.
First-time cheekpieces should help him travel a little bit better and conserve some energy for when it matters most.
Robbie Power, who finished third in this race on Fletchers Flyer for us last year, is in the saddle as Sean Bowen is back in England riding at Uttoxeter for us.
Robbie is having a great week and knows Punchestown very well, so we’re delighted to have him.
Onefortheroadtom and Acting Lass then run in the 3m handicap chase (17:00).
Onefortheroadtom was thankfully none the worse for his spill at Ayr the last day and he takes his chance with Niall Madden taking the ride.
Hopefully he can be competitive off a light weight and make amends for coming unstuck the last day.
Acting Lass hasn’t run in over a year and he would want the ground to be softer.
To be honest, it’s quite a big ask for him to return after a long time off on ground that’s quicker than ideal.
It hasn’t quite gone to plan, but he was a good novice last season and takes his chance with David Mullins having his first ever ride for us.
Uttoxeter on Saturday
It’s then on to a brand new season at Uttoxeter.
Black Mischief gets his chasing career off and running in a race (15:25) that we won two years ago with Space Oddity.
It will probably come down to who jumps best of the three on their chasing debut, so a clear round is what we’re hoping for first and foremost.
Sir Ivan didn’t quite get home over three miles at Cheltenham the last day, so is back down in trip in the 2m4f handicap hurdle (16:35).
Then Goodnitesweetheart gets her chasing career off the mark in the 2m6½f novices’ handicap chase (17:05).
She’s a winning point-to-pointer and we’re looking forward to starting her out over fences.
Bullionaire has had a number of minor setbacks but he is now looking better than ever and could run next week.
It’s all ground dependant but there are options for him to start him off over hurdles at Exeter and Newton Abbott.
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