Unowhatimeanharry out to complete magnificent seven
Unowhatimeanharry has gone from strength to strength for the Fry yard
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Unowhatimeanharry out for magnificent seven By Graham Dench 8:00PM 16 DEC 2016
UNOWHATIMEANHARRY is a hot favourite to extend his unbeaten run for Harry Fry to seven races and cement his position as the outstanding domestic challenger for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
The eight-year-old has made extraordinary improvement since joining Fry as a maiden over hurdles before the start of last season, and his impressive Grade 2 defeat of Ballyoptic at Newbury on his return when carrying the colours of JP McManus for the first time strongly suggested that his form has been taken to a new level this season.
Having joined Fry on a mark of 123, he is now rated 165, and disputes favouritism with Faugheen at around 4-1 in some ante-post lists for the World Hurdle. He has a tough act to follow, last year's race having been won impressively by the subsequent easy World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack, but his credentials are hard to fault.
"He was impressive at Newbury and on paper he's the one to beat, but it's another day and he's got to step up again as it's his first run against seniors in a Grade 1 and it really could not be much more competitive," said Fry.
It is difficult to argue with the trainer's point. This is an unusually competitive renewal, despite the lack of an Irish challenger, with former triple winner Reve De Sivola, high-class French runner Alex De Larredya and tough as teak Lil Rockerfeller among his rivals in a field of 11.
Reve De Sivola won successive runnings in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and 12 months ago he found only Thistlecrack too good. While very well suited by deep ground, it was officially only good to soft for the last two runnings. He is now a veteran and has a deal to find on recent form, but he has no doubt been trained with one eye on this race.