Cleeve hero Unowhatimeanharry flawless in extending winning streak

Sat 28 Jan 2017

Unowhatimeanharry extended his winning run to eight with a flawless performance in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Since switching to Harry Fry the nine-year-old has yet to taste defeat and is already a Festival winner, in the Albert Bartlett last season.

Having stepped out of novice company with aplomb this term, he faced 14 rivals in the Grade Two affair but was still the 10-11 favourite to oblige.

Barry Geraghty always looked comfortable and tracked Cole Harden and Ballyoptic for much of the race.

Cole Harden, the World Hurdle winner from 2015, ran his best race for some time and kept Unowhatimeanharry honest on the long run from the last, with the hurdles in the home straight omitted for low sun.

However, a new threat emerged in the shape of West Approach and Ruby Walsh, who had sneaked into contention, but the favourite kicked clear.

To his credit Cole Harden battled back to claim second, beaten by a length and three-quarters, with West Approach's run just flattening out 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."

Ladbrokes cut the winner to 7-4 favourite from 5-2 for the Stayers' Hurdle.

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