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Newbury

  • 14:10 bet365 Long Distance Hurdle 3m 52y

  • (Grade 2) £50,000 added 4yo+ 9 ran
  • Winner £28,475 2nd £10,685 3rd £5,350 4th £2,665
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
    Result
  • Winning time: 5m 55.22s
  • Off time: 14:10:35

Unowhatimeanharry took the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury

Last Updated: 25/11/16 5:07pm

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Unowhatimeanharry: Next races pick themselves, according to trainer Fry.

Unowhatimeanharry: Next races pick themselves, according to trainer Fry.

Unowhatimeanharry became the latest contender to highlight his credentials for the World Hurdle after stretching his unbeaten run to six with victory in the bet365 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Having swerved an outing at Haydock last Saturday on account of the testing ground, the improving eight-year-old made his first start since triumphing in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival in the Grade Two prize.

Despite taking on a number of race-fit rivals, the 7/2 chance, who was purchased by JP McManus over the summer, travelled well throughout the three-mile contest in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

As early leader Maximiser relinquished his position at the head of affairs heading out onto the final circuit, it was left to Menorah, running over hurdles for the first time in five years, and multiple Grade One-winning hurdler Reve De Sivola to cut out the running.

Turning for home Menorah, having mastered Reve De Sivola, attempted to make the best of his way home with the eventual winner, favourite Ballyoptic and Irish raider Snow Falcon all waiting in the wings ready to throw down their challenges.

As Snow Falcon took a tumble at the third last, Geraghty nursed his mount into contention to pick off Menorah over the penultimate flight and take a decisive lead.

After measuring the last well, Unowhatimeanharry galloped on powerfully to pass the post six lengths clear of Ballyoptic, with Menorah the same distance back in third.

Fry said: "Watching the race back takes your breath away. I couldn't in my wildest dreams expect him to win in the way he won. He won by further today than he did at any point last season.

"It has taken time to get him out this season. We were not quite happy with him and then we took him out last weekend because of the testing conditions.

"Coming here today, he had it all to do on the weights and ratings. He just keeps improving. To do it again is breathtaking.

"These races pick themselves and he will go to Ascot in three weeks' time for the Long Walk."

Geraghty, who completed a treble on the day with wins aboard the Nicky Henderson-trained pair of Jenkins and Reigning Supreme, was riding Unowhatimeanharry for the first time and was equally impressed.

He added: "Harry's done a brilliant job. It was a bigger performance than we expected. We thought he had a chance, but he did it really well.

"He jumped well and travelled at every stage of the race. He's got a good attitude and really enjoys his racing.

"It was a great performance. It will be interesting to see how he fares when he steps up in grade."

Sky Bet slashed the winner to 6/1 (from 16s) for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

A re-match between the winner and the runner-up at Ascot is on the cards with Nigel Twiston-Davies set to aim Ballyoptic at the Grade One contest on December 17.

He said: "It was a slowly-run race, which probably didn't help us and we're looking forward to the Long Walk, which is over a bit further, which will help us. Hopefully the ground will be softer.

"He's been fine since his fall at Wetherby and hopefully he's still a World Hurdle contender, as off his mark there's nothing else to go for."

Menorah's trainer, Philip Hobbs, said: "I'm delighted with him and he'll probably run at Ascot in a handicap chase in three weeks' time if the ground is all right."

Noel Meade reported Snow Falcon to be none the worse for his unfortunate spill.

"He's perfect. He just came up too soon. He used to be a bit the other way and got in under them (hurdles)," said the trainer.

"He was going well at the time, but it was half a mile out, so you wouldn't know (what would have happened).

"After today the plan was always to go to Leopardstown at Christmas, so I'd say the plan will still be the same. Hopefully he's okay, he seems okay and trotted away fine."

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