Harry ready for return
View from connections ahead of Saturday's Betfair Exchange 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock.
Unowhatimeanharry: Ready for Haydock return
Harry Fry is hoping Unowhatimeanharry can continue the good form of horses carrying top weight when he makes his seasonal debut in the Betfair Exchange 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday.
Millenium Royal (2007), Diamond Harry (2009) and Trustan Times (2012) have all defied the welter burden of 11st 12lb and now Unowhatimeanharry aims to join that club.
Fry is pleased the rain has finally arrived this autumn to get last season's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle hero back on the track.
"I'm looking forward to it. Obviously he's got top weight, which is no easy task in a competitive handicap, and he's starting a lot higher than he did last year," said Fry.
"He's in good form at home and top weights do have a good record in this race. It's good to get him started now the rain has arrived. Hopefully it's a good starting point and will give us a guide as to where we go for the rest of the season."
Dan Skelton believes this race will suit Two Taffs and has been preparing him for it for some time.
The Alcester trainer was delighted with his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle three weeks ago, when the six-year-old comfortably landed the odds on his first start for six months.
"We've had this race in mind for him since the back-end of last year. We thought it would be perfect," said Skelton. "He'll love the hurdles and he goes on soft ground. He had a nice warm up in a novice hurdle, so he goes there with a really nice chance, hopefully."
Harry Whittington is looking forward to pitching Affaire d'Honneur back in a big field following a disappointing run at Fontwell last month.
The five-year-old has arguably shown his best form in competitive handicaps, notably when he was fourth in both the Betfair Hurdle and Imperial Cup.
"I have been very happy with him since Fontwell. Those two runs have told us that he is not suited by a small-field novice hurdle," said the Sparsholt handler.
"Hopefully, coming back into a big-field handicap with a pair of cheekpieces will sharpen him up and help him travel better. He was dropped 5lb for his last run, which gives us a chance if he comes back to the form he showed last season.
"It is worth stepping up in trip for a big pot like this. You can never be sure until they do it, but I don't see any reason why he won't stay. He relaxes well in his races and doesn't pull."
Paul Nicholls was delighted to see Caid Du Berlais win on his second comeback run at Aintree two weeks ago following his return at Chepstow after 18 months off the track.
"He won nicely at Aintree. He missed all last year but ran well at Chepstow on his debut," the Ditcheat handler told Betfair.
"He's gone up 8lb but Stan Sheppard will take 5lb off him and hopefully he will have an outstanding chance. Two miles and seven suits him very, very well, he was the winner of a valuable chase at Cheltenham."
Yala Enki ran well in his race 12 months ago and trainer Venetia Williams feels it will be a good starting point for the season before he goes over fences.
"He was fifth in it last year. With a bit of luck he might be a better horse this year," the Hereford handler said. "He'll have another crack at it before he goes chasing."
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