Unowhatimeanharry has shown phenomenal form on the racecourse since joining Harry Fry. He won eight consecutive races for the Dorset trainer and last month triumphed in the Grade One Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
However, the nine-year-old’s route into the top hurdling ranks was an unusual one. It was thanks to an advert in Horse & Hound as a four-year-old that the Sir Harry Lewis-sired gelding remained in training.
‘Harry’ was bred by Graham Smith, who is now heavily involved in showjumping with his wife Holly (née Gillott).
“I used to have a trainers’ licence and had Harry’s dam Red Nose Lady in training. I had a couple of wins over hurdles with her, so I thought I’d try and breed one from her,” Graham told H&H.
“I chose the stallion Sir Harry Lewis — he was recommended by Joss Hanbury [master of the Quorn] and had sired his Long Walk Hurdle winner, Mighty Man.”
At the time named simply ‘Harry’ after his sire, the youngster was broken in and cantered away at Graham’s yard before the former trainer decided to hand in his licence.
“There was no point keeping my licence for just one horse so I planned to sell him at the Doncaster sales. However, he was dismissed for being too small and I was told he looked more like a polo pony than a racehorse,” said Graham.
“So I put an advert in Horse & Hound, as I’d had luck previously selling horses through the magazine.
“A lady turned up and bought him as a 50th birthday present to herself and said she was going to put him in training with Helen Nelmes — she named him Unowhatimeanharry after boxer Frank Bruno’s famous punchline.”
The gelding ran, and won once, for Helen before making the move to Harry Fry (pictured below with the horse), who’d received a ‘for sale’ email from the horse’s owner at the time.
“When he was at Helen’s they always let me know when he was running, then he slightly disappeared off the radar,” continued Graham. “The next thing — eight months later — I see he’s running for Harry Fry and winning a lot.”
Harry Fry initially purchased the gelding for his racing club, however, the talented hurdler was bought by renowned National Hunt owner JP McManus in October last year and now runs in the famous green and gold silks.
“We did breed a full-brother to him but he unfortunately died before making it to the racecourse,” added Graham. “It’s unbelievable really — you breed your first one and it turns out to be that good, it just never happens.”