Unowhatimeanharry (Harry Fry) has been a real star for connections over the last few seasons and is set to go to Wetherby for the £45,000 G2 bet365 Hurdle (3.05pm, eight entries) on Saturday, November 2, day two of the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting.
The JP McManus-owned 11-year-old is a four-time G1 winner, most recently capturing the G1 Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown, Ireland, on his latest appearance in May.
Dorset-based Fry said: “Unowhatimeanharry is in good form and the plan is to start in the bet365 Hurdle.
“He gave us a brilliant day at Punchestown in May and we didn’t really know what to expect – we thought it could even be his last run.
“He’s almost 12 now, but it is great to have him back for more this season.
“We will place him carefully these days, but it is special to see him still performing at a high level.
“Hopefully he can be competitive at Wetherby and we are looking forward to running.”
Unowhatimeanharry is the 7/4 joint-favourite with bet365, along with Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies).
bet365 Hurdle, bet365 bet:
7/4 Unowhatimeanharry, Ballyandy
7/2 The Worlds End
7/1 Le Breuil
8/1 Aye Right
10/1 Lord Napier, Two Taffs
25/1 Teescomponents Lad
Star mare Lady Buttons (Phil Kirby) is aiming for back-to-back victories in the £22,500 Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (1.55pm, 11 entries) on Saturday at Wetherby.
The tremendously consistent nine-year-old won by a length and three-quarters from Mystic Sky (Lucy Wadham) in 2018 and went on to enjoy a stellar campaign that saw her win a valuable handicap chase at Newbury, the Listed Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase at Doncaster and the G2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at the same venue. She ended the 2018/19 with two excellent efforts in defeat when fourth in the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and when runner-up in the G3 Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree in April.
Trainer Phil Kirby, who is based at East Appleton in North Yorkshire, said: “Lady Buttons heads to Wetherby on Saturday. She is a star and without her we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“We are looking forward to returning to Wetherby for the race she won last year.
“She did not mind mixing hurdles and fences last season and she could do the same this time around.
“She is in lovely shape and seems as happy as ever.”
Lady Buttons is the 2/1 joint-favourite with sponsor bet365 for Saturday’s contest, alongside unbeaten four-year-old Vision Du Puy (Dan Skelton), last seen when an easy winner at Perth in April. Another unbeaten contender is French import Zambella (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 4/1), who is yet to race in the UK, while Indefatigable (Paul Webber, 4/1) scored by 10 lengths in a Listed contest at Cheltenham in April.
bet365 Mares’ Hurdle, bet365 bet:
2/1 Lady Buttons, Vision Du Puy
4/1 Indefatigable, Zambella
10/1 Diamond Gait
12/1 Becky The Thatcher, Mystic Sky
16/1 Smaoineamh Alainn
Kirby is also set to be represented in the feature £100,000 G2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (3.40pm, 12 entries) by Top Ville Ben. The seven-year-old enjoyed a productive campaign last season, winning three times in novice company with two of his successes coming over three miles at Wetherby. He ended the season with a fine third behind Lostintranslation in the G1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April. He is an 8/1 chance for Saturday’s contest with sponsor bet365.
Kirby continued: “The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase remains the plan for Top Ville Ben. It looks a competitive race, but we will see how he gets on.
“He deserves to take his chance in the race and it is all systems go for Wetherby.
“He loves the track and soft ground will suit.”
Betting for the three-mile contest is headed by top-class mare La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex, 11/4), a dual G1 winner last season, with last year’s winner Definitly Red (Brian Ellison) on 4/1.
bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, bet365 bet:
11/4 La Bague Au Roi
4/1 Definitly Red
9/2 Elegant Escape
5/1 Black Corton
8/1 Top Ville Ben
14/1 Double Shuffle, Molly The Dolly, Vinndication
33/1 Atlanta Ablaze
The going at Wetherby remains: Soft, Good to Soft (in places)
Wetherby’s seven-race programme on Saturday starts at 12.50pm and ends at 4.15pm.
The bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting starts on Friday, November 1, when the feature races are the £30,000 bet365 Handicap Chase (3.05pm, 2m 3f 85y, 22 entries) and the £25,000 Weatherbys Hamilton Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle (2.30pm, 11 entries).
Earlier on the card, G1 Stayer’s Hurdle second Sam Spinner (Jeff O’Keeffe) is among 14 entries in the Best Jumps Action On Racing TV Novices’ Chase (1.55pm) over three miles, after making a successful start to his chasing career at Wetherby on October 16.
Racegoers wanting to attend are advised to book tickets as soon as possible by visiting: www.wetherbyracing.co.uk
For more information, please contact, Jonjo Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course, Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre, on 01937 543344 or 07831 437453