Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle
|Grade 2, Newbury 15:00
£50,000 added, 4yo plus,
3m 52y, Class 1
|Friday 30th November 2018
1 Unowhatimeanharry 11/4F
The Mighty Don 16/1
7 ran NR: Kris Spin Distances: 2½l, 2l, 16l
Time: 5m 55.00s (slow by 10.00s)
Successful in the 2016 renewal and second last year, the 10-year-old son of Sir Harry Lewis, who runs in the colours of J P McManus, took the lead approaching the final flight and responded willingly to Geraghty’s urgings in the closing stages to score by two and a half-lengths from Clyne (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge and the gallant The Mighty Don (Nick Gifford/Leighton Aspel), who was a further two lengths behind in third.
Unowhatimeanharry, registering his seventh Graded victory including three G1s, also became the first horse since Big Buck’s (2009-2012) to win multiple renewals of the three-mile contest.
Winning trainer Fry admitted watching the finish of the race was “slightly strange” as he also saddled Momella (Noel Fehily), who fell at the second last, bringing down Sam Spinner (Jedd O’Keeffe/Joe Colliver). Wholestone (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob) came home last of the five finishers.
Fry said: “Unowhatimeanharry did it well. It was a slightly strange finish to watch as I was trying to keep an eye on Noel and Momella to check they were OK, as well as watching the actual finish. Thankfully, Noel and Momella are fine.
“Unowhatimeanharry has just been an incredible horse for us. He hasn’t won for over a year and it looked last year as if things were on the wane.
“He went back to Martinstown (the owner’s stud) over the summer. He had a good break and they looked after him brilliantly. We did a few little things with him too, including tweaking his wind and we have been really happy with him this autumn.
“He ran well at Aintree earlier on his seasonal debut as he probably doesn’t have the speed for two miles and four furlongs nowadays, but we took plenty of encouragement from that.
“We put the cheekpieces on today to encourage him to travel better through his races and we knew today that he was an older boy who has been there and done it, so we were hopeful.
“He didn’t have a penalty for the first time today in this event and we are delighted to get him back in the winners enclosure.
“Unowhatimeanharry has done us so proud and I am just delighted he has won again. The cheekpieces and the slower ground have definitely helped him today.
“Watching the replay, I thought it wasn’t likely we were going to win, but Barry said that he jumped his way into contention – he is a brilliant horse.
“We will enjoy today, before making any other plans. We are just enjoying the fact that he has given us another big day.
“Unowhatimeanharry has been an extraordinary horse for us. When he joined us three years ago, he was a 123 rated maiden and he is now a 12-time winner, a three-time G1 winner and this is the second time he has won this race. You cannot script it, this is just extraordinary.
“I am not suggesting he is as good as he was. That is why it is great to have him back winning, especially after the way he ended last season. We will enjoy this moment because he has been a fantastic horse for us.
“Some of my horses went off the boil last season. It was not our best season and things did not happen but, touch wood, we have made a few changes at home and they seem to be clicking into gear nicely. It is credit to all the team at home and their hard work. Hopefully, we can keep the ball rolling now.
“We will take it one race at a time with Harry. Obviously, the Long Walk Hurdle
(G1, Ascot, December 22) is three weeks away and that looks the natural stepping stone. We will see how he comes out of this.”
Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle
£50,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 52y, Class 1
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places
||B J Geraghty
||The Mighty Don (IRE) 16/1
||L P Aspell
|N J Gifford
||Monbeg Theatre (IRE) 33/1
||Wholestone (IRE) 10/3
||D A Jacob
|N A Twiston-Davies
||Momella (IRE) 4/1
||N D Fehily
||Sam Spinner 3/1
||Kris Spin (IRE)
||J E Moore