Cleeve Hurdle
Grade 2, Cheltenham 16:00
£60,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 7f 213y, Class 1  
Saturday 28th January 2017

1 Unowhatimeanharry 10/11F
2 Cole Harden 20/1
3 West Approach 14/1
15 ran Distances: 1¾l, 1½l, 6l
TIME 5m 59.90s (slow by 18.90s)

Unowhatimeanharry maintains his unbeaten record at Cheltenham

© Racehorse Photos

While not capturing the imagination with the manner of his victories, Unowhatimeanharry showed no sign of his winning streak coming to an end anytime soon after securing his eighth straight success since joining Harry Fry last season in the Grade Two event.

Having made a seamless transition out of the novice ranks with victories in this season's Long Distance and Long Walk Hurdle, last year's Albert Bartlett winner continued to look a very good purchase by owner JP McManus when putting both old and new rivals in the shade.

Travelling well throughout the extended two-mile -seven-furlong prize, the 10/11 favourite effortlessly moved into contention under Barry Geraghty to join 2015 World Hurdle winner Cole Harden and old foe Ballyoptic over what would normally have been the second last.

The final obstacle had been dolled off due to the low sun meaning that there was still a long way to race but Geraghty oozed confidence aboard Unowhatimeanharry.

His backers may well have been urging Geraghty to check his wing-mirrors as Ruby Walsh and West Approach came out off the pack to give chase but a shake of the reigns settled the result.

The winning margin was a length and three quarters with Cole Harden returning to somewhere near his best in second with West Approach, still a novice, a length and a half back in third.

Fry said: "Barry looked confident coming down the hill and then he thinks he's done enough when he hits the front, but that's probably why he keeps winning. Obviously if he's OK after this we can roll on to March.

"If we worked him with 100-rated horse at home or a 140-rated, he goes a length up and stops. If he was winning by 20 lengths every time there'd come a time the tank would be empty.

"It was soft, tacky ground today and he travelled nicely through it, but he handles better.

"We'll have to see what Willie Mullins brings (in the World Hurdle), but there'll be something in Ireland fancying their chances.

"March is six weeks away, so plenty can happen."

Geraghty said: "He's a lovely attitude, he travelled really well through the race and got there easy enough, but then he dossed in front.

"He keeps beating what's in front of him, but only the same distance which is why he's under the radar a bit.

"He just keeps winning."

Warren Greatrex was delighted with the performance of Cole Harden who will now bid to turn the tables with Unowhatimeanharry at the course in March.

He said: "He's run a hell of a race. Gavin Sheehan said he hated the ground, but he said he gave him some feeling. He is a different horse this year. Last year I think was a non-event.

"On good ground Gavin promised me he could go double the speed. We will get him home and get him ready for March now."

Sky Bet cut the winner to 15/8 favourite from 9/4 for the Stayers' Hurdle.

Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners said: "That was impressive from Unowhatimeanharry as he had to give weight away to some rivals and he just pulled out more again up the hill.

"It's getting difficult to see what will beat him in March and he's a very solid 15/8 favourite with us now."

Horses 468x60 Jpg Cleeve Hurdle
£60,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 7f 213y, Class 1
15 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Unowhatimeanharry 10/11f B J Geraghty
H Fry 9
2nd Cole Harden (IRE) 20/1 G Sheehan
W Greatrex 8
3rd West Approach 14/1 R Walsh
C L Tizzard 7
4th 6 Ballyoptic (IRE) 4/1 R Johnson
N A Twiston-Davies 7
5th 4 Shantou Bob (IRE) 22/1 Wayne Hutchinson
W Greatrex 9
6th nk Un Temps Pour Tout (IRE) 20/1 T Scudamore
D Pipe 8
7th 5 Old Guard 33/1 Harry Cobden
P F Nicholls 6
8th ½ Ptit Zig (FR) 25/1 Nick Scholfield
P F Nicholls 8
9th 34 Reve De Sivola (FR) 66/1 Lizzie Kelly
Nick Williams 12
10th ¾ Whataknight 33/1 N D Fehily
H Fry 8
11th ½ Kotkikova (FR) 14/1 D A Jacob
N J Henderson 6
12th 2 Knockara Beau (IRE) 100/1 Jan Faltejsek
G A Charlton 14
13th Henri Parry Morgan 16/1 J E Moore
P Bowen 9
14th 17 The Young Master 80/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen
N P Mulholland 8
PU The Romford Pele (IRE) 50/1 D N Russell
Miss R Curtis 10

Year Horse Owner Trainer Weight Jockey SP

1990 Beech Road Tony Geake Toby Balding 8-12-00 Richard Guest 1/3 f
1991 Crystal Spirit Paul Mellon Ian Balding 4-10-09 Jimmy Frost 4/1
1992 Abandoned
1993 Muse White Horse Racing Ltd David Elsworth 6-11-08 Paul Holley 11/4
1994 Flakey Dove John Price Richard Price 8-11-03 Richard Dunwoody 4/1 cf
1995 Mudahim K W Bell Chris Broad 9-11-08 Norman Williamson 13/2
1996 Abandoned
1997 Large Action Brian Stewart-Brown Oliver Sherwood 9-11-08 Jamie Osborne 8/15 f
1998 Mistinguett John Duggan Nigel Twiston-Davies 6-11-03 Carl Llewellyn 100/30
1999 Lady Rebecca Kinnersley Optimists Venetia Williams 7-11-03 Norman Williamson 6/4 f
2000 Lady Rebecca Kinnersley Optimists Venetia Williams 8-11-03 Norman Williamson Evens f
2001 Lady Rebecca Kinnersley Optimists Venetia Williams 9-11-03 Norman Williamson 7/1
2002 Kates Charm Norma Kelly Robert Alner 9-11-03 Mick Fitzgerald 3/1
2003 Classified David Johnson Martin Pipe 7-11-08 Tony McCoy 8/11 f
2004 Crystal D’Ainay Tony & Jeni Fisher Alan King 5-11-04 Jimmy McCarthy Evens f
2005 Patriarch Express A W Muir Sue Smith 8-11-00 Jim Culloty 8/1
2006 Fire Dragon Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill 5-11-00 Tony McCoy 16/1
2007 Blazing Bailey Three Line Whip Alan King 5-11-00 Robert Thornton 14/1
2008 Inglis Drever Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson 9-11-08 Richard Johnson 11/8 f
2009 Big Buck’s The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls 6-11-00 Ruby Walsh 7/2
2010 Tidal Bay Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson 6-11-00 Brian Hughes 14/1
2011 Grands Crus Roger Stanley & Yvonne Reynolds III David Pipe 6-11-04 Tom Scudamore 2/1 f
2012 Big Buck’s The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls 9-11-08 Ruby Walsh 1/4 f
2013 Reve De Sivola Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership Nick Williams 8-11-08 Richard Johnson 15/8 f
2014 Knockara Beau Alistair Charlton George Charlton 11-11-00 Jan Faltejsek 66/1
2015 Saphir Du Rheu The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls 6-11-04 Sam Twiston-Davies 3/1
2016 Thistlecrack John & Heather Snook Colin Tizzard 8-11-08 Tom Scudamore 4/5f