Harry stays strong to take top spot at Punchestown

UNOWHATIMEANHARRY’s (GB) breeder Graham Smith expressed deep pride after the popular 11-year-old on Thursday claimed the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown for a second time.

Harry Fry’s inmate, a son of SIR HARRY LEWIS, had not returned to the winner’s enclosure since November 2018.

But he made a mockery of odds of 16-1 to take top spot in the three-mile Grade 1 with a three-length defeat of Bacardys in the hands of Mark Walsh.

Fry’s redoubtable stayer won this big race two years ago and this was his fourth victory at the highest level.

Unowhatimeanharry, owned by JP McManus, was bred in Leicestershire by former trainer Smith, who also responsible for the development of his dam, RED NOSE LADY (GB), a four-time winner over hurdles.

When told of the news, an overjoyed Graham Smith said:

“That has made my day to hear he’s won. It’s absolutely flippin’ brilliant news.

“I thought he was done after his last run at Aintree, but the fire is clearly still there.

“What an amazing result. What a little star that horse has been. We broke him in and had him until he was four when we put him in at the Doncaster Sales.

“They told me he was too small and would only be a polo pony, so we stuck an advert in the Horse & Hound.

“We put him up for sale and a lady reckoned she wanted to buy him for a 50th birthday present.

“I guess the rest is history. He’s a lovely, lovely little horse and I’m very proud to have been part of his story.”