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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

14:50 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-18

Winner: £78679.52

Runners: 16

Going: Good To Soft

No. of hurdles: 12

Distance: 2m7f213y

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The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 run on day four of the Cheltenham Festival and is the ultimate test for the very best long-distance novice hurdlers, being run over 3m and with 12 hurdles to jump. Since it was first run in 2005, its most successful winner has been Bobs Worth, who went on to win the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival the following year and the Cheltenham Gold Cup two years later. Check the Albert Bartlett runners and riders ahead of the race and place your bets by clicking the odds buttons.

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FORM
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NR(0)
51
silk
Falcon Eight

-

T: D K Weld
7
11-8
0
135
Chester Cup winner and one of the smartest Flat horses to go jumping in recent seasons; finished well beaten on his first attempt at Leopardstown and he should really have won more easily at Thurles, as it was only a 2m7f maiden on yielding ground that looked ideal; that form is a long way short of what's required for this.
NR(0)
3-1242
silk
Idas Boy

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T: Noel Meade
8
11-8
140
143
At eight, he's the eldest in the field; won his maiden over a trip just shy of 3m but three defeats since don't bode well and this is his first foray into anything better than a Grade 3; the same connections had a surprise winner in Very Wood eight years ago, but unlikely that lightning will strike twice.
14(0)
58-631
silk
Ramillies

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J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
7
11-8
0
141
Finished midfield in the bumper here last year; has 12l to find with stablemate The Nice Guy on their Naas form but then bolted up at Punchestown (2m4f, soft/heavy) and that was despite jumping fairly poorly; if sharpening up his act in that department he could be a surprise package.
9(0)
211U14
silk
Green Book

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J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
5
11-8
137
146
Flat background and stayed well; he was winning his third handicap as a hurdler when beating 16 rivals on good to soft at Sandown (just under 3m) but the wheels came off behind Hillcrest at Haydock and the heavy ground was no real excuse; he's better than that, clearly, but it's a big ask to bounce back in this.
16(0)
11
silk
Stag Horn

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J: Nick Scholfield
T: Archie Watson
5
11-8
137
142
Very classy on the Flat and he stays forever in that scene, running well over 2m5f at Royal Ascot last summer; has yet to be headed over hurdles, having made all at Hereford (2m3f, good) and repeated the feat in a Grade 2 at Warwick (2m5f, soft); stepping up to 3m will be no hardship and he's battle-hardened; worth a second look.
8(0)
F31611
silk
Good Time Jonny

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J: Kevin Sexton
T: A J Martin
7
11-8
146
150
The Festival would have been the last thing on the minds of connections when he was seemingly going nowhere in novice hurdles last summer but he's made startling progress in his subsequent handicaps and the form of his latest win, at Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival (yielding), puts him in this league; that was also his first run over 3m, which suited him down to the ground; progressive handicappers have won this previously; respected.
5(0)
/41217
silk
Eric Bloodaxe

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J: J J Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
7
11-8
142
139
Heavy ground when winning a Limerick Grade 2 (2m7f) at Christmas by clear daylight but he was treated with contempt by Ginto the run before (on yielding) and ran a shocker behind Minella Cocooner at Leopardstown last time; even if shrugging aside that disappointment, he'll do well to threaten.
2(0)
311311
silk
Bardenstown Lad

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J: Sean Bowen
T: John C McConnell
7
11-8
140
148
Gained course experience when winning a 3m novice hurdle here in October and then made it 4-5 over hurdles in a small field at Musselburgh (again good ground; won point/bumper on soft); has been plying his trade at a lower level but he's a trier who won't fail through a lack of stamina; likely to prove popular in the Placepots.
1(0)
31
silk
Ballygrifincottage

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J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
7
11-8
136
142
The winner of three Irish points; excellent third in a Grade 2 over C&D in December (good to soft) on his rules debut and then made the most of an easier opening at Lingfield (2m7f, heavy), again shaping like a thorough stayer; no question that he has to improve to trouble the best of these but that's feasible.
12(0)
3211
silk
Mahler Mission

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J: James Bowen
T: John C McConnell
6
11-8
141
140
From winning a Sedgefield maiden it represented a major forward step to score from The Real Whacker in a Grade 2 at Doncaster (3m, good; first-time tongue-tie), for all that it wasn't the strongest of races for that level; has earned his right to a crack at this company and has been runner-up on heavy, but others are more intriguing.
19(0)
9-2212
silk
Where It All Began

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J: A P Heskin
T: Gordon Elliott
6
11-8
128
136
Had nothing left when scraping home in a 2m5f maiden at Tramore (heavy) and couldn't hold a candle to Bardenstown Lad at Musselburgh (3m, good) despite getting 3lb off that rival; represents a top team but, as regards his winning potential for this, the positives stop there.
4(0)
121
silk
Classic Getaway

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J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
6
11-8
0
142
Recruited for £570,000 after winning his point; won his bumper next time (heavy) but he was turned over on his hurdling debut and, kept to 2m4f, it was more workmanlike than super-smooth when prevailing at odds of 1-3 in a hood at Punchestown (yielding); that form has suffered some knocks, so he needs to find significant improvement to get in the mix.
7(0)
21-111
silk
Ginto

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J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
6
11-8
150
153
Skipped Wednesday's Ballymore to wait for this; 3m point winner who won one of his two bumpers and he's a perfect three from three over hurdles, all over 2m4f and in Graded company the last twice; kept it simple from the front last time in a Grade 1 at Naas (soft) and the form is not to be sniffed at; his high-profile connections rate him.
17(0)
111
silk
The Nice Guy

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J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: W P Mullins
7
11-8
0
147
More workmanlike than stylish in winning his two bumpers but his successful start over hurdles at Naas (2m3f, good to yielding) can't be crabbed and there's substance to that form; he won by 8l and it could have been more; it's not ideal heading into a Grade 1 on the back of a solitary start over hurdles, but he's a dark one.
3(0)
327113
silk
Brorson

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J: Jamie Moore
T: Martin Keighley
6
11-8
130
139
Went close in a 2m maiden hurdle here in October; odds-on wins in a 2m3f novice and 3m handicap (both on good to soft; unraced on softer under rules) before coming up short in another handicap at Musselburgh; again ran well that day but holds no significant appeal on the back of that defeat.
13(0)
1211
silk
Minella Cocooner

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J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
6
11-8
146
150
Has progressed impressively with his racing and seemed to relish front-running duties when making every yard in a 2m6f Grade 1 at the big February meeting at Leopardstown (yielding), where the first-time hood did him no harm; one line of form through the third horse home puts him on a par with Ginto, so he has every right to be seriously involved.
15(0)
21-211
silk
Shantreusse

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J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
6
11-8
0
144
Beat only five rivals at Clonmel last time but it was a 3m Grade 3 and the outcome was never in any doubt once he led two flights out; no doubt closer to the finished article now than when hammered by Ginto in a bumper and his improvement has come on heavy ground, so the recent rain was welcomed.
10(0)
-111U1
silk
Hillcrest

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J: Richard Patrick
T: Henry Daly
7
11-8
148
157
Giant of a horse who had sufficient speed to win a bumper on good to soft and he has won all his completed starts over hurdles, gaining valuable course experience in the process; kept rolling in very taking fashion under a prominent ride at Haydock (3m Grade 2 on heavy) most recently and he looks to have all the attributes required for this war of attrition.
NR(0)
612
silk
The Real Whacker

-

T: Ann Duffield
6
11-8
139
138
Beat just the four rivals to take a 3m1f maiden on soft ground at Carlisle but couldn't cope with Mahler Mission when promoted to a Grade 2 at Doncaster (good) and he needed to win that for him to be taken seriously here.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
Hillcrest
Henry Daly's strapping chap HILLCREST might just be the real deal. He has clocked times to suggest that he wouldn't have been out of place in Wednesday's shorter Ballymore and yet he was relentless from the front over this trip at Haydock, looking as though he could have gone round again. Gordon Elliott has long talked a good game with Ginto and, despite having performed to such a smart level at 2m4f, it bodes well that he's evidently keen to take him further. As for the rest, the four Willie Mullins runners all won last time and could have improved efforts in them, while Good Time Jonny might have been winning only handicaps, but he has the battle-hardened and progressive profile that always commands respect in this notoriously tough test for novices.

Verdict

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