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HARAMBE LANDS THE GREATWOOD

Press Release 17th November 2019 Cheltenham

The 16/1 shot Harambe captured the £100,000 G3 Unibet Greatwood Hurdle for Tom Bellamy and Alan King.

The six-year-old son of Malinas swooped late to land the feature contest of the day by a neck, from the Philip Hobbs-trained Gumball (9/1) in second.

Winning owner Niall Farrell was delighted with the performance and said: "This is very special. You want to have winners at Cheltenham, but to have the winner of the Greatwood is extra special.

"He is a horse we have always liked and the Greatwood was something that we had in mind this season.

"He goes well on the ground and I'm delighted that he has won today."

BELLAMY HOPES HARAMBE IS THE START OF GREATER THINGS TO COME

Harambe made up plenty of ground late in the race to snatch the G3 £100,000 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle for trainer Alan King and jockey Tom Bellamy.

The Malinas six-year-old beat Gumball by a neck at odds of 16/1.

Bellamy said: "I can't describe how lucky I feel. First and foremost, with Wayne [Hutchinson, formerly first jockey at Alan King's yard] retiring, it's a good start for the new way things are at Alan's now. Onwards and upwards from here, hopefully.

"I knew that he would run well - it's obviously different to winning, but I thought he would be in the first six. A strongly-run race would suit him and the ground was a question, but the guv'nor gave me great instructions. He said to switch him off, think about the last half of the race and see how I go.

"Harambe was very fresh at Chepstow. I spoke to Wayne this morning and he gave me great advice, very similar to the boss. He said switching off was my main objective and to forget about the race to start with - once he is switched off, then start worrying about the race.

"He wasn't completely switched off but he wasn't half as keen as he was last time. He has taken me everywhere I needed to be and won nicely.

"It's surreal. I was lucky enough to win at this meeting on Splash Of Ginge [the BetVictor Gold Cup] two years ago, and as soon as you do it you want to do it again. I know it is a different race, but it's the second-biggest of the weekend, and the timing of it as much as anything means an awful lot. Hopefully, it might seal the deal of moving up the pecking order at Alan King's.

"I won this horse's first bumper on him and rode him in his next two, and he ran away with me a bit at Newbury one day and the boss put Wayne back on him, which is completely fair enough - he was the stable jockey - so it was great to be entrusted with the ride today. And to win, hopefully that repays that trust a little bit."

RETURN TO ASCOT NEXT FOR GAME RUNNER-UP GUMBALL

Gumball (9/1) confirmed himself an improving handicapper with a neck second to Harambe (16/1) on a course connections were not sure would suit, and he is now set to return to Ascot, where the flat track has already been proven to be ideal for him.

His target there will be the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (formerly the Ladbroke) on December 21.

Philip Hobbs said: "He's done very well indeed on an undulating track on soft ground, particularly as we think he really wants a flat track and good ground. He'll go back to Ascot now."

Hobbs has been delighted with the success that his claiming jockey Ben Jones has been enjoying lately, and said: "Ben has been with me three years and was a champion novice point-to-point rider in Wales, so has a lot of experience. It's only recently he's been let loose."

Jones felt that a mistake at the last had not helped Gumball, but he was pleased with how the grey settled, and also with the style in which he finished his race off.

Owner Terry Warner said: "We ran him today to see if he handled the track and he did better than we expected. He'll go back to Ascot next time, and Ben can ride him again there."

MOTHER-DAUGHTER TEAM LEFT TO RUE WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

A thriller was served up in the G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, with two necks covering the first three and Harambe (16/1) taking first prize for Alan King and jockey Tom Bellamy.

Third placed Monsieur Lecoq (9/1) led for most of the extended two-mile contest, a position his jockey Lizzie Kelly would rather have not been in. She said: "We didn't go very fast and I was swinging off him the whole way - I just wish I could have got more cover. We have only lost it in the final ten yards.

"Every time I ride him you are left thinking he just needs a better race, where they go that bit quicker. We could come back here for the International [G2 Unibet sponsored, December 14] as they would hopefully go a faster pace in that."

Kelly's mother Jane Williams trains the five-year-old, and re-emphasised her daughter's comments, saying: "I am disappointed. The race just didn't work out for him and we've been chinned on the line. If we could have got settled in behind, I think we would have won.

"We need to get out of handicaps now - the better the race the better we will be."

Result: 

3:00pm Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y

1 HARAMBE (Niall Farrell & Friends) Alan King 6-11-00 Tom Bellamy 16/1

2 Gumball (Terry Warner) Philip Hobbs 5-11-05 Ben Jones (5) 9/1

3 Monsieur Lecoq (Jane Williams) Jane Williams 5-11-05 Lizzie Kelly (3) 9/1

9/2 Fav Benny's Bridge (12th)

Time: 4m 10.64s

Distances: nk, nk

Tote Win: £12.80 Places: £4.70, £3.20, £2.80 Exacta: £181.30

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