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Unowhatimeanharry Can Justify Banker Tag Ahead Of Stayers Hurdle Test

Monday 6th February 2017

The Stayers' Hurdle is the next race under our ante-post Cheltenham microscope, and Russell Palmer (@rustyboy75) runs his eye over the likely field...

Sometimes the most obvious of things can be sitting there smack right in front of your face. I've read and listened to countless views opposing race favourite Unowhatimeanharry for the Stayers Hurdle, but to me he looks more than a worthy favourite who still represents some value at the head of the betting. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty annoyed with myself for not reaching this conclusion earlier, at least before his last run at Cheltenham where bookies were quick to clip the Harry Fry trained nine year old into 13/8 from 5/2.

The 13/8 about the J P McManus charge still looks a big price!

He's underrated quite probably due to his novice career which didn't pull up any trees until scoring in last year's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. He was sent off an 11/1 chance that day and hasn't looked back since. Unbeaten in three starts this season he's achieved a career rating of 167, one pound shy of Thistlecrack's rating going into last year's World Hurdle, another late developer. That rating would put him bang in contention based on past winners of the race.

He's rated eleven pounds superior to Shaneshill, who looks like being his closest rival on ratings. The Willie Mullins trained eight year old has a good record at the Festival finishing second on three appearances. The King's Theatre gelding finished runner up to Blaklion in the RSA Chase twelve months ago but reverts to hurdling where he got within seven lengths of Thistlecrack at Aintree last term. He looks a better hurdler and I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish second at the Festival yet again. 12/1 best price looks a pretty solid each way pick.

As with the Champion Hurdle, the book looks a bit of a mess currently with plenty of runners who are entered elsewhere. Second favourite in the ante-post books Jezki (8/1) could well line up in the two mile contest on day one of the Festival and even if he runs in the Stayers, he still has something to prove over the trip at Cheltenham. Jessica Harrington has done a great job getting him back fit on the track after a 20 month lay off and although he showed typical gritty determination to win at Navan on his reappearance last month but up the hill over three miles at Cheltenham I'd rather be on the favourite.

Elsewhere I don't think for one minute Vroum Vroum Mag will line up and three miles is probably beyond her, whilst Nichols Canyon probably isn't good enough.

That doesn't leave a massive amount and the race could well lack depth on the day, another reason to pile into the favourite.

Cole Harden ran well in defeat to the favourite in the Cleeve Hurdle on Trials Day. An unsuccessful spin as a novice chaser the Warren Greatrex it was a return to form following in Unowhatimeanharry by a length and three quarters. Greatrex was positively beaming and with this run under his belt and on better ground he'll feel as though his eight year old is in with a serious chance. At 14/1 the price looks a touch on the short side now for me.

Bar those it's a bit of a head-scratcher when looking for one at bigger prices. Were it not for him being a novice I'd be tempted to part with some each-way cash on West Approach (33/1) who was eye-catching in the Cleeve, but surely he'll line up in the Albert Bartlett?

The Stayers Hurdle is one of my favourite races at the Festival. Baracouda was my favourite racehorse upon getting into the sport and there's a touch of the Baracouda's in UNOWHATIMEANHARRY who always seems to do just enough in his races. Like Baracouda, he's sure to give me a white knuckle ride clutching onto my ante-post slips come March 16th!

ANTE POST SELECTION - Unowhatimeanharry @ 13/8 with Betway

Latest Stayers' Hurdle Betting - Click To Bet

Faugheen R Walsh / W P Mullins 5/1 3/1
Penhill 6/1 6/1
Thistlecrack 10/1 -
Supasundae R M Power / Mrs J Harrington 10/1 10/1
Apples Jade 10/1 10/1
Samcro 12/1 -
Call Me Lord 16/1 -
Lami Serge - 14/1
Next Destination 25/1 12/1
Wholestone Sam Twiston-Davies / N A Twiston-Davies 12/1 20/1
Farclas 20/1 -
Sam Spinner Joe Colliver / Jedd O'Keeffe 20/1 -
Bacardys Mr P W Mullins / W P Mullins 16/1 -
Bapaume P Townend / W P Mullins 25/1 -
Invitation Only 25/1 -
Ok Corral 25/1 25/1
Sutton Place 25/1 -
Soul Emotion 25/1 25/1
Lil Rockerfeller 25/1 -
Dortmund Park 25/1 -
Apples Shakira 40/1 -
Moon Racer 33/1 -
Arctic Fire 33/1 -
Momella 33/1 -
Chef Des Obeaux 33/1 -
Colins Sister 33/1 -
Ballyandy 33/1 -
Unowhatimeanharry 33/1 -
Blow By Blow 33/1 -
Robin Roe 33/1 -
Kilbricken Storm Harry Cobden / C L Tizzard 33/1 -
Delta Work 40/1 -
Scarpeta 40/1 -
Keeper Hill R Johnson / W Greatrex 66/1 -
Le Breuil 66/1 -
Yanworth B J Geraghty / A King 80/1 -
Golden Birthday 100/1 -
Each Way Terms 3

1. Faugheen R Walsh / W P Mullins
4. Supasundae R M Power / Mrs J Harrington
10. Wholestone Sam Twiston-Davies / N A Twiston-Davies
12. Sam Spinner Joe Colliver / Jedd O'Keeffe
13. Bacardys Mr P W Mullins / W P Mullins
14. Bapaume P Townend / W P Mullins
31. Kilbricken Storm Harry Cobden / C L Tizzard
34. Keeper Hill R Johnson / W Greatrex
36. Yanworth B J Geraghty / A King
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 12:53 . Odds are subject to change.
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