Cheltenham Festival Day Preview: Unowhatimeanharry to cement place at head of Stayers Hurdle betting market

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Many of the great staying hurdlers have won the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival Trials Day down the years and the Harry Fry trained Unowhatimeanharry is a warm order to build on a very promising season so far for last years’ Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner.

The nine-year-old is now unbeaten in his last seven starts over hurdles, including a clean sweep of five wins in his novice season. He looks the one to be on in Cheltenham Festival‘s 4.00pm contest on Saturday.

When Unowhatimeanharry reappeared in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury before Christmas, he was the second favourite behind Ballyoptic, but he jumped and travelled like a class horse throughout the race and found loads for pressure in the closing stages to win impressively on the day.  With Ballyoptic well held in second place, he had Menorah soundly beaten back in third and immediately it was clear this horse is a serious contender for champion honours.

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He built on that next time out in the Long Walk Hurdle, graduating to top level Grade 1 success with a gutsy but ultimately easy win over the solid Lil Rockerfeller, with Un Temps Pour Tout miles back in third. It was another statement from Unowhatimeanharry, who then catapulted to the head of the betting market for the newly sponsored Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

 

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In terms of dangers, it is once again Ballyoptic who comes to the fore trading as the second favourite. Beyond that, meaningful opposition is thin on the ground and this represents a cracking opportunity to record another win and get an early sighter at Prestbury Park for the main target in 7 weeks time.

After the departure of Thistlecrack to the chasing game, the staying hurdle division is in need of a new star and there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that Unowhatimeanharry has taken the bull by the horns and staked his claim the loudest so far this season.

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