UNOWHATIMEANHARRY dug deep to make a successful start to his campaign in the Read Noel Fehily At 188Bet Hurdle at Aintree on Saturday.

Just three runners went to post for the two-and-a-half-mile conditions event, but it was nevertheless an intriguing affair.

Unowhatimeanharry lined up having won nine of his 10 starts since joining Seaborough trainer Harry Fry, suffering his only defeat when third in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

He turned the tables on his Cheltenham conqueror Nichols Canyon at Punchestown in April and was the 8-11 favourite for his first start since on Merseyside.

Barry Geraghty settled the JP McManus-owned nine-year-old in behind the front-running Top Notch, who was a leading novice chaser last season and was making his first appearance over the smaller obstacles since finishing fifth in the 2016 Champion Hurdle.

The pace gradually increased and both horses, as well as the other participant Value At Risk, were in with a chance at the final flight.

Top Notch was the first to give way and Unowhatimeanharry’s stamina kicked in in the final furlong as he pulled a length and a half clear of Value At Risk.

Speaking from Wincanton, Fry told ITV Racing: “It was a bonus really in terms of he was well at home and the race fitted in well, so we thought why not run?

“It’s good he’s gone up there and got his head in front.

“It’s a great start to the season.”

Geraghty told Racing UK: “That was good. It was a nice race to pick for him.

“Two-and-a-half on his first run (of the season) was sharp enough, but it was good for him.

“He didn’t have a gruelling race. We picked up well in the straight and it rode like a smart race.

“The intention was to go straight to Newbury (Long Distance Hurdle, December 1), but he just came to himself.

“He was keen enough and he’d have been sitting on his hands for the next few weeks, so why not come here as a nice little prep?”


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