Fry ready to hit the ground running in quest for more big-race success
Harry Fry’s team are getting busier now that the ground has eased and this is traditionally a good time of year for the stable.
Following Fry’s runners blind in November has yielded a profit in each of the last four seasons, and runners in bumpers and novice hurdles do particularly well, since Fry sends his newcomers to the races fit and he is happy to win first time out, whereas others might have the longer term and handicap marks in mind.
Last season’s 47 winners fell a little below the usual level, but Grade 1 wins from If The Cap Fits and Unowhatimeanharry in April more than made up for it.
Fry has given notice at the Seaborough stables he has known since he was 13 and which he later operated as a satellite yard for Paul Nicholls, sending out Rock On Ruby to win the Champion Hurdle, before taking out a licence in 2012.
He hopes to go out on a high and stresses that his departure at the end of the season to his family’s farm at Halstock is unrelated to the death in the summer of his mentor and former landlord Richard Barber, whose support, he acknowledges, is hard to overestimate. It is simply the right time for him to make the move.
Sean Bowen is stable jockey now, but Noel Fehily continues to play an important role, preparing many of the stable’s youngsters before they go into training, riding out twice a week, and adding valuable input to the placing and riding of the team.
Yard Manor Farm
Where Seaborough, Dorset
Assistant trainers Ciara Fry and Michael Legg
Head lad Rawal Singh
Assistant head lad Tom Ryall
Secretary Rachel Brown
Jockeys Sean Bowen, Kieron Edgar, Jonathan Burke
Amateur jockeys Michael Legg, Martin McIntyre, Josh Newman
Started training October 2012
Horses in yard 75
Members of staff 25
Stable sponsor Citibet
Winners in Britain
Profit/loss to £1 stake
Eight-year-old gelding King’s Theatre (sire) – Darrens Lass (dam)
Owner: Nigel & Barbara Collison
Form figures: 4/1119/P
Racing Post Rating: 154 (chase); Official Rating 143c
His three wins have all been on right-handed tracks but that’s coincidence rather than design. We are toying with the Badger Ales at Wincanton (Nov 9) for his comeback, but he has to bounce back after just one run last season. He needs 3m now and soft ground is key.
Air Horse One
8g Mountain High – Whisky Rose
RPR 149 (hurdles) OR 131h
He’s finally lower than when he last won nearly two and a half years ago. He didn’t stay 3m at Punchestown so we’ll drop him back and there’s a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Plumpton (Nov 4) that might suit. It would be great to get his head back in front.
Art Of Payroll
10g Shirocco – Anna Maria
RPR 153c OR 140c
He had an injury, and then his palate caught him out when he reappeared in August, so it’s been cauterised. He’s going for a Listed handicap at Wetherby (Nov 3) and then there’s a veterans’ race at Leicester (Dec 1) which is made for him. Decent ground and 2m4f is ideal, and he still has plenty of ability.
8g Oscar – Golden Moment
RPR 157c OR 151c
He had a great first season over fences, when his two disappointments were in Grade 1s where I was probably to blame – he should have gone straight to the Kauto Star without that run two weeks before, and when he went to Aintree he didn’t travel up there well. His best form is on a flat track and he could start back over hurdles at Aintree (Nov 9) in a class 2 where he has no penalties. It’s then a month to the Peterborough at Huntingdon, where he won last year, then there’s a race at Kempton in January which has been upgraded to class 2 and the Grade 1 over 2m5f at Ascot if all went well. He gets 3m on a flat track, but over 2m4f you can ride him really aggressively and make the most of his jumping.
6g Getaway – Julika
Gary Stevens and Brian and Sandy Lambert
RPR 129h OR 127h; RPR 97c OR 127c
He’s got form on good ground, but he loves it soft. He jumps for fun and what he did over hurdles was a bonus. He’s always run in a hood, but he went to sleep in it at Uttoxeter the other day so he’ll be out again soon without it. The further he goes the better he’ll be, and he could be a Midlands National type next spring.
Dalila Du Seuil
6m Bachir – Misery
RPR 137c OR 149c
A lovely mare who will be contesting the Listed mares chases. There’s one at Carlisle (Dec 1), then a valuable one at Doncaster later that month and another at Huntingdon in January. Soft ground and 2m4f is ideal for her.
Get In The Queue
5g Mount Nelson – Amarullah
Paul & Clare Rooney
On Racing Post Ratings he was the highest rated English bumper horse last season, but he picked up an injury when he won at Newbury in March and that’s going to rule him out until the second half of the season, when we hope to get him going over hurdles. He’s with Jason Maguire and we have to be patient.
5g Oscar – Shamrock Miss
A lovely horse who will be stepping up in trip in due course but will probably start off at 2m. He’ll start low key but could make up into a nice novice on soft ground.
8g Robin Des Champs – Mille Et Une
RPR 164c OR 158c
A bit of an enigma and not easy to predict. He’s huge, and inclined to be over-exuberant, so the way he runs his race is well suited to 2m or 2m2f, but if he gave himself a bit of a chance he’d stay 2m4f at least. We were looking at the Haldon Gold Cup, but he’s eligible for a £50,000 graduation chase at Carlisle (Nov 11) and that makes more sense as he’s not quite Grade 1 but will always have plenty of weight in a handicap. Soft ground suits.
If The Cap Fits
7g Milan – Derravaragh Sayra
Paul & Clare Rooney
RPR 164h OR 160h
He relished the step up to 3m½f at Aintree, where he was almost on the floor at the last and was then very brave to go between two top-class mares to score. On the back of that we are planning to stay over hurdles, and it’s great to have another top-class staying hurdler after the fun we’ve had with Unowhatimeanharry. We are hoping to start over 2m4f at Ascot in the Coral Hurdle (Nov 23) and then go back there for the Long Walk Hurdle a month later, which is also the target for Paisley Park. He’s rated 9lb behind him, but he’s only had the one run at the trip and someone has to serve it up. He’s only seven and if he’s progressed again it gives him a chance, but it’s going to be very tough. He likes better ground, and he’s not short of speed. He’ll keep the cheekpieces he wore at Aintree.
5m Scorpion – Loxhill Lady
The Horse Flys Partnership
A lovely mare who was shin sore after her success at Plumpton but is absolutely fine now. We are hoping to start her off at Cheltenham in November in the Listed mares bumper.
Jolly’s Cracked It
10g Astarabad – Jolly Harbour
RPR 148h OR 140h
An Ascot specialist who has had his problems but is still very effective on slow ground when he’s fresh. He’ll reappear at Ascot in a Listed handicap hurdle (Nov 2) or in the open handicap he won there last season (Nov 22). He’s only 2lb higher than when winning last season, so that gives him a chance.
Just A Sting
7g Scorpion – Shanann Lady
Nigel & Barbara Collison
RPR 141c OR 134c
We had high hopes for him in the spring and it didn’t really work out, but he should make a decent second season chaser and could reappear wearing headgear at Cheltenham on Saturday in a valuable 3m handicap. He’s best caught fresh and prefers better ground. The key to him is the owners being out of the country, as he only wins when they are away, but unfortunately there’s not a racecard symbol to alert you!
5g Stowaway – Kiltiernan Robin
Masterson Holdings Limited
After what he did in bumpers we have high hopes of him over hurdles. He’ll probably start over 2m and work away from there, but another half mile isn’t going to be a problem when he learns to settle – he was just a bit keen when he won at Ffos Las. A winning point-to-pointer for Tom Lacey, he’s a natural jumper and he might start at Exeter on Haldon Gold Cup day (Nov 5). He’s smart.
5m Stowaway – Whisky Rose
RPR 117b RPR 111h
We’ve got probably our strongest ever group of bumper horses going hurdling, and this one won the Listed bumper at Sandown, after which Aintree was just one run too many. She was just a bit novicey at Market Rasen on her hurdling debut, and with the run behind her she should take a bit of beating next time.
7m Sholokhov – Missing Link
Holt, Clark, Macnabb, Nugent & Robinson
RPR 140h OR 138h
I’ve never known one lose her confidence in the way she did last season in the Long Distance Hurdle, where I think she would have given Unowhatimeanharry a run for his money. She’d been great at home since she came back, showing plenty of enthusiasm, but she waved the white flag when the tapes went up at Ffos Las at the weekend and so we have to find the key.
Over To Sam
8g Black Sam Bellamy – Lady Brig
The Jago Family Partnership
RPR 130h OR 134h; RPR 125c OR 134c
He’s a lightly-raced horse who impressed with his jumping on his debut over fences after a lay-off and will probably mix between novice and open handicaps. He’s a proper 3m+ staying chaser and will enjoy soft ground. He can make up for lost time.
5g Malinas – Samandara
Charlie Walker & Phil Fry – Osborne House
RPR 131h OR 135h; OR 135c
He has plenty of ability and it’s just a question of channelling it in the right direction. He should have won at Exeter last season, and then running at Newbury was a mistake. He’s from a good chasing family and he was third at Plumpton on Monday on his first run over fences. We’ll take the hood off next time, and we’ll step him up in distance.
11g Sir Harry Lewis – Red Nose Lady
RPR 166h OR 155h
He’s almost 12 but is back for more after winning his fourth Grade 1 at Punchestown just when we were starting to think the light was fading. It won’t get any easier for him so we’ll place him carefully and not go for all of the obvious races. We’ll start this time in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby (Nov 2) and then carry on as long as he’s still enjoying it and remains competitive. The Long Distance is a possibility, then after Christmas maybe the Rendlesham instead of the Cleeve.
5m Milan – Mhuire Na Gale
Chasing Gold Racing Club
RPR 118b RPR 113h
A bumper winner who was just a bit fresh and novicey at Ffos Las on her hurdles debut and will be all the better for the experience. She would be pretty versatile trip-wise, but soft ground is key to her. She ought to be hard to beat next time.
5g Flemensfirth – Baliya
Paul & Clare Rooney
He was quite green last season but won a bumper and will relish stepping up in trip over hurdles. He could start over 2m4½f in a maiden at Southwell on Thursday.
We pride ourselves on our record in bumpers and a lot of our good horses have come via that route. A lot of hard work goes into it, and I think we’ve got another nice team. The clue is in the name with Fehily (4g Asian Heights – Leahs Joy), who is a lovely young horse. Millbank Flyer (4g Milan – The Last Bank), Mille Sussurri (4g Milan – Silent Whisper) and Sound Wall (4g Milan – Wall Of Silence) are three more well-related ones by the same sire, while White Hart Lady (5m Doyen – Hats And Heels) is a mare who is ready to go soon. Pure Bliss (4f Mount Nelson – Burton Ash) has already won an Irish point-to-point and will start in a mares’ bumper. We also have two for Trevor Hemmings for the first time.
Rival to watch
Paisley Park for obvious reasons. He has an official rating 9lb higher than If The Cap Fits, so we have to narrow that gap.
Race in focus
We’ve won the Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper at Newbury the last three years, and we’d like to win it again. Fehily is among our eight entries.
Two for the tracker
Green Dolphin should pay his way in novice hurdles on soft ground from 2m to 2m4f, and Misty Whisky should do well in mares’ novice hurdles.
How do you replace the experience and unflappability of Noel Fehily? Simply appoint the best unattached jumps rider in Britain.
Snapping up Sean Bowen is a fine demonstration of the straightforward precision that characterises Harry Fry’s training style. Bowen can play all the shots, but his greatest strength is his physicality and hooking him up with well-bred, often well-forward types this winter could make for a highly punter-friendly combination.
Fry’s style draws plenty from his mentor Paul Nicholls, perhaps primarily in the way he runs horses only when they are ready and as often or rarely as that allows. Punters should not have much hesitation about backing a Fry-trained runner first time up and that means we should be especially watchful of those, like the somewhat quirky Just A Sting, whom his trainer believes are best caught fresh.
Hell’s Kitchen is an especially good example. If anything Fry’s comments perhaps undersell his talent – if things had gone more smoothly he might have won a Grade 1, and his size could hint at any underlying issues. It would be great to see him in the Haldon Gold Cup first time up. The intermediate trip and getting that little bit of weight from Grade 1 types, who may have bigger days planned, could be just the right balance for an evidently difficult type.
It is telling of the depth in Fry’s novice hurdlers that having to put the supremely talented Get In The Queue on the easy list for a few months is an inconvenience rather than a tragedy. King Roland is an obvious type and Misty Whisky has the talent to have plenty of joy among her own sex, but don’t neglect the younger chasers.
Samarquand in particular takes the eye. He reportedly burst blood vessels when last seen at Newbury but before that had started extremely brightly, even his third at Exeter behind Getaway Trump has worked out favourably. He’s bred to thrive over fences (Bowen won last year’s Grand Sefton on his half-brother, Warriors Tale) and offered plenty to work on at Plumpton earlier this week.