Unowhatimeanharry continued his sparkling run for trainer Harry Fry when winning the Pertemps Series Qualifier at Exeter on Sunday.
Twice a winner at Cheltenham over the winter, he looks set to be a major player at the Festival if contesting the Pertemps Final as anticipated. His last three victories have all come in testing conditions, and that may be one reservation when assessing his form, with ground likely to be livelier in March. His trainer has expressed confidence that better ground would be fine for the horse. His sire Sir Harry Lewis has tended to produce strong staying types though several proved to be mud-lovers.
The popular stallion was an American-bred racehorse and won the Irish Derby back in 1987 when trained by Barry Hills. Prior to the victory in Ireland he had won the Dee Stakes and finished a creditable fourth in the Epsom Derby.
As a four-year-old a change of ownership brought about a permanent move to America, though he failed to make much of an impact. He started his stallion career in Kentucky before moving to New York. He later returned to Europe and stood at Wood Farm Stud in Shropshire, until his death in 2009 at the age of 25.
He created a huge impression as a sire of National Hunt racehorses. One of his most successful offspring was the Hennessy Gold Cup winner Diamond Harry. A huge beast, he was trained by Nick Williams and arrived at the Cheltenham Festival in 2009 undefeated under rules. He’d won the Challow Hurdle at Newbury and was fancied to go close in the Ballymore Novices’ (now the Neptune). Unfortunately he bumped into Mikael D’Haguenet, and found himself tapped for toe in the latter stages.
He probably didn’t achieve as much over fences as many thought likely. Nevertheless, he did gain a famous victory in the Hennessy of 2010, when getting the better of Burton Port in a thrilling finish. He carried the minimum 10 stone thanks to the inclusion of the mighty Denman, who hauled 11st 12lbs to a third place finish.
Harry Topper is another of the mud-loving offspring. Out injured at present, he’s had a number of terrific days on the track. He took the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November 2013 and then won the Denman Chase in February 2014 when scything through the Newbury mud to win by 25 lengths. He’s a relentless galloper in deep ground but lacks the gears necessary to compete against the very best on a sounder surface.
One fella that did appreciate better ground was the gutsy staying hurdler Mighty Man. He lacked the stature of a typical Sir Harry Lewis offspring, and therefore spent most of his career over timber. He twice came close to winning the World Hurdle, and though unfortunate to be around at the time of Inglis Drever and Big Buck’s, he still managed to win a Relkeel Hurdle, two Liverpool Hurdles and the Grade 1 Long Walk at Ascot.
Carole’s Legacy was another successful stayer that coped admirably in all ground conditions. The mare finished first or second in all but two of her career starts, proving just as adept over fences as hurdles. Runner-up to Quevega in the Mares’ Hurdle at The Festival of 2010, she returned 12 months later and again finished runner-up, this time in the Grade 3 Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase. She’s now a broodmare at Wychnor Park Stud in Staffordshire.
Harry Fry continues to build a strong team at Manor Farm in Dorset. He’s now hit 40 wins for the season, outdoing last year’s total of 37. With almost half a million in prize money he continues to churn out the winners at an impressive 25% strike rate. Back in April the yard’s classy mare Bitofapuzzle gave the team a thrilling Grade 1 victory. In just four weeks, Fry will be hoping that he can add a much sought after Cheltenham Festival success. Sir Harry Lewis may yet prove the key to that particular puzzle.