Past Winners » Restless Harry


I like Featherbed Lane, I have been really impressed with the progress he has made this season since joining Philip Hobbs, and he should have won the Lanzarote Hurdle on his previous run. However, although he is favoured by the weights here, I think the bookmakers have erred in putting him in so short, and I am backing Restless Harry against him at 9/2.

Robin Dickin’s horse ran a big race on his first start of the season when winning the Grade 2 John Smith’s Hurdle at Wetherby, setting a strong pace and keeping on really well to come home 20 lengths and more to the good of some decent rivals. He didn’t take to chasing as well as connections would have hoped in two runs after that, and they rightly decided to send him back over hurdles and preserve his novice status over fences for next season.

He didn’t run too badly in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December, and then he probably paid for taking it up so early in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on his last run. From what we know, he is not a Grade 1 hurdler, at least not in Big Buck’s’s generation, but he is well up to Grade 2 standard – as well as that emphatic Wetherby success, he has been a very creditable third in an Ascot Hurdle to Silviniaco Conti over an inadequate two and a half miles, and been third to Grands Crus in a Cleeve Hurdle (where he had one of today’s rivals Kayf Aramis a long way behind).

He does have to concede a Grade 2 penalty today, but he may just have a class edge. Also, although he has won and run well several times at Cheltenham now, there is a suspicion that he may be better on a flatter track – his win at Wetherby and his run in the Ascot Hurdle were two of the best of his life, and he was also a close second to Reve De Sivola in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury as a novice.

On top of that, although he can handle bigger fields, it is likely that he prefers racing in smaller fields, his four career wins have all come in single-figure fields, in which he has dominated.