Harry Fry's Vukovar set for Warwick debut
Last Updated: 05/12/13 1:44pm
Harry Fry: Set to take the wraps off Vukovar
Harry Fry's much-hyped French import Vukovar is set to make his UK debut at Warwick on Sunday.
Vukovar's stock rose dramatically when Dell' Arca, who the four-year-old beat on his latest start, won the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle for David Pipe on his British bow.
While his rival remained over the smaller obstacles, Vukovar is set to go chasing and Fry had been considering a run at Exeter on Friday but ground conditions meant that he has been forced to re-route his charge to the Midlands.
"Vukovar will not run at Exeter on Friday because the ground's too quick. It's hard to believe it's good to firm in places there at the beginning of December but there we go," he revealed in his latest blog for StanJames.com.
"He's a big horse and we're not going to risk him on that so we'll divert to Warwick on Sunday where it's good to soft and start in the two-mile beginners' chase. It's probably shorter than ideal - two miles three would have been perfect - and we think he's going to get much further in time but it's a nice starting point."
Fry was, however, keen to play down expectations while also explaining the decision to go straight over fences.
"He doesn't need too much talking up from us and he's got to do it on the track now. We're very pleased with what he's shown us at home. He schools well and obviously with a horse of his nature and profile we're looking forward to running him.
"We were never going to run him over hurdles. He's a big imposing four-year-old and he's every inch a chaser. When everyone sees him, they'll understand where we're coming from.
"He schooled again with Noel over the fences at home on Tuesday and he was leading them, just straight in and never batted an eye. So we're very pleased with him and looking forward to it. We'll just get out there and get our first outing under our belt, first and foremost. We'll hope for a clear round and make plans from there."
Fry also had news of Mendip Express who made it two out of two for the season at Bangor on Saturday and did nothing to dispel his trainer's Cheltenham Festival ambitions.
"It was quite testing ground and he probably didn't really appreciate it being quite so soft. Everyone can see why he has to go left-handed as he jumps quite markedly left in the latter stages of the race. It's another step in the right direction and he's got an opening mark of 139 now over fences and hopefully we can keep stepping up and possibly think about Cheltenham in March come the spring.
"We're looking at the Class Two three-mile novice chase at Warwick on the 11th of January probably for his next outing but that's not set in stone yet. If everything kept going the way it is, we'd definitely be entered in both the RSA Chase and the four-mile National Hunt Chase.
"Will Biddick knows him better than anyone having won all those point-to-points so the National Hunt Chase would be perfect being for amateur riders but we'll see how much we can keep progressing and he'll tell us which one we should aim for if we're lucky enough to get there," the trainer added.