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Monday, 6 March 2017

Stayers’ Hurdle, Thursday, March 16

No prizes for originality, I’m afraid, but Unowhimeanharry has won all eight starts – including the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December – since joining Harry Fry and looks a worthy favourite.

The Sir Harry Lewis gelding was rated 123 when winning a 0-125 conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle, over 2 miles 5 furlongs, on the Old Course at Cheltenham on his debut for the yard 2 years and 4 months ago, but has officially improved by 44lb, or 3st 2lb, in the interim. In fact, his current rating of 167 makes him the highest rated hurdler in the country and, as a course and distance winner with no apparent ground preference, he must take a world of beating. Unfortunately, that fact hasn’t escaped the bookmakers, but the 5/4 available with Sky Bet, on a ‘non-runner no bet’ (NRNB) basis, could still look decent value when he sets off up the run-in next Thursday.

Selection: Cheltenham 3.30 Unowhimeanharry to win (5/4 with Sky Bet NRNB)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Newcastle 2.40, Thursday, March 2

Stoneham hasn’t run on the Flat since October, but ran the race of his life over hurdles when stepped up to 3 miles 2 furlongs at Musselburgh earlier this month and doesn’t look impossibly handicapped on the pick of his Flat form. Despite completing a hat-trick in the summer, his current rating of 67 means that he just sneaks into this Class 6 contest, albeit with the welter burden of 10 stone, and he looks a decent bet to resume winning ways. He’s won a couple of times on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, so there appears no reason why he shouldn’t run his race. Apprentice Lewis Edmunds has been in cracking form recently, with six winners from his last 18 rides, and his 5lb claim will come in handy.
Selection: Newcastle 2.40 Stoneham to win