Saturday 27 May 2017

Fry star ready to go distance

Willie Mullins has never won the race but has three contenders from his Closutton yard. Photo: Seb Daly / Sportsfile
Willie Mullins has never won the race but has three contenders from his Closutton yard. Photo: Seb Daly / Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Harry Fry feels Unowhatimeanharry's "streetwise" nature has been a key facet behind his exceptional run of form ahead of the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle today.

The nine-year-old is unbeaten in his last eight starts, including in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 12 months ago, and is likely to be sent on his way at very short odds for the feature race on day three at the Cheltenham Festival.

Fry said: "It's exciting. Obviously, we're looking forward to it enormously. Every run last season he kept on surprising us. He was backed as if he'd already won first time out for us, but we didn't know what we had and he's just kept on winning.

"He's streetwise - really hardy - and that's why we don't really know what we've got as he doesn't fly up the gallops.

"He only works as well as the horse he works with. Barry (Geraghty) got off last time and said he was only doing enough.

"Hopefully if he can turn up in the same sort of form he's been in all season, he'll run a good race."

Cole Harden won this race two years ago and is back for another go. The eight-year-old has not hit the mark since then, but recent performances have encouraged trainer Warren Greatrex.

Greatrex said: "He schooled on Tuesday morning and seems in really good form. I can't wait to get him running.

"The way he has come back this season has been absolutely brilliant because last year I was scratching my head and I didn't know where we were going.

"He had a knee problem in the summer, we seem to have got that sorted and he's been brilliant this year.

"On better ground and being a spring horse, he must have every chance."

Jezki, the 2014 champion hurdler, has been declared by Jessica Harrington, who is hoping the Cheltenham ground continues to dry out. She said: "He's a nine-year-old now, which is probably not that old and he seems to be in good form.

"Before he won the Champion Hurdle he finished last of four on heavy ground at Leopardstown. We know he doesn't like heavy ground."

Willie Mullins has never won the race but has three contenders from his Closutton yard.

Mullins said: "Shaneshill and Clondaw Warrior are both in good form. Clondaw Warrior should probably have been running over three miles long before now.

"They've both got chances in it. It's going to be tough for them, but they have each-way chances."

Mullins also saddles Nichols Canyon, which has won seven Grade Ones and will be stepping back up in trip after he fell in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. Paul Nicholls runs Zarkandar, which has twice been placed in the race.

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