Festival hero earns holiday after ‘extraordinary’ season

Unowhatimeanharry was a distant fifth in the 2014 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell during an unspectacular start to his racing career. Picture: Clive Bennett/polopictures.co.uk
Unowhatimeanharry was a distant fifth in the 2014 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell during an unspectacular start to his racing career. Picture: Clive Bennett/polopictures.co.uk
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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He was bought for a bit of fun – and went on to grab one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

Now Unowhatimeanharry is set for a well-deserved summer holiday.

The eight-year-old son of Sir Harry Lewis won the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last week.

In the hands of jockey Noel Fehily, he stayed on to beat Fagan by more than a length and record an 11/1 triumph on the fourth and final day of the famous Prestbury Park meeting.

You would have got a big price on that outcome after an unspectacular start to his career, which included one victory in six outings at Fontwell.

But he has flourished since a switch to Harry Fry’s Dorset yard in October – winning all five of his races this season.

The trainer said: ‘He won’t run again this season.

‘He’s had a fantastic year and we will look forward to next season when we will probably be staying over hurdles.

‘It’s been an extraordinary season. We couldn’t have dreamed of doing what we’ve done with him and it’s huge credit to all the team to get him to where he is now.

‘The plan would be to look at the staying hurdles.

‘We’ll go from there and see where next year takes us.’

Unowhatimeanharry, now rated 152, was Fry’s first official Festival winner.

But the Albert Bartlett was not the original plan for the talent, who won a Fontwell bumper in 2013 for former trainer Helen Nelmes.

Fry, who also manages the Harry Fry Racing Club, said: ‘We bought him last summer, thinking he had the right profile for a club horse.

‘He was a maiden, so he gave us lots of options.

‘We could run him regularly for a bit of fun.

‘At the start of the season he was a 123-rated hurdler and the plan was simply to win a race for our club.

‘It didn’t matter where – just to win a race and give the members a day out.

‘There are 40 members and four horses in our club.

‘First time out he won a conditional jockeys’ handicap at The Open meeting, so to end up back here winning the Albert Bartlett is extraordinary.’

The Albert Bartlett gives punters a glimpse of future staying stars.

Bobs Worth, who finished third in this year’s World Hurdle, won in 2011 before going on to take the Gold Cup in 2013.