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Cheltenham preview: Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (14.25)

David Metcalf | December 11, 2015

Unowhatimeanharry has won his two starts this season in impressive fashion, and can take the step up into Grade 2 company in his stride to land the hat-trick in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (14.25).

The gelding has looked a totally different animal since joining trainer Harry Fry, and made a mockery of his handicap mark of 123 when scoring over 2m 5f at this venue last month.

After racing in touch travelling strongly, the seven-year-old cruised into contention two from home before pulling readily clear on the run-in to score easily by three lengths.

Unowhatimeanharry_small

Connections then wisely turned out Unowhatimeanharry quickly before the handicapper had his say, and the son of Sir Harry Lewis duly bolted up by four lengths at Newbury off an unchanged mark.

The assessor has hit Unowhatimeanharry with a 14lb rise for that success, but he looks the type that needs keeping firmly on side and could be much better than a handicapper.

He is certainly well worth a crack at this level and, with the stable in fine form and Noel Fehily in the saddle, Unowhatimeanharry can land the spoils en route to better things.

Net Work Rouge and Ennistown carry a threat

RACING

Ennistown and Net Work Rouge both have progressive profiles, so look the obvious dangers.

The former is trained by John Ferguson and has finished in the first two in all five of his starts over the obstacles, winning on two occasions.

Ennistown comes into the contest on the back of a career-best effort when runner-up in a competitive 2m 4f handicap at Market Rasen, but the big question has to be whether the step up to 3m will play to his strengths given he is a speedily bred flat sort.

Net Work Rouge is trained by Kim Bailey and has won his last two starts in the style of a much improved performer.

In the last of those at Warwick, the six-year-old made all and stayed on strongly to beat Dan Eemmet by 3 1/2 lengths and had the re-opposing Ballycross a further 3 3/4 lengths back in third.

The runner-up has since come out an scored at Chepstow to give the form a boost and, although this demands more, Net Work Rouge is clearly in the form of his life and looks sure to give it his best shot.

Related

Keep an eye on our Cheltenham coverage for more race previews and tips.

Coral’s top tip: Unowhatimeanharry is improving at a rate of knots and can take the step up in class in his stride to land the hat-trick. Net Work Rouge rates the biggest danger.