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  • 16:00 Cleeve Hurdle 2m 7f 213y

  • (Grade 2) £60,000 added 5yo+ 15 ran
  • Winner £34,170 2nd £12,822 3rd £6,420 4th £3,198
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 5m 59.30s
  • Off time: 16:00:41

Unowhatimeanharry wins Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham

Last Updated: 28/01/17 6:17pm

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Unowwhatimeanharry leads Cole Harden over the line

Unowwhatimeanharry leads Cole Harden over the line

The remarkable rise of Unowhatimeanharry continued as he maintained his unbeaten record at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle.

While not capturing the imagination with the manner of his victories, the nine-year-old 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."

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