The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle takes place on the final day of the Festival and whets the appetite for the Gold Cup which follows with some high class staying novices doing battle. This is often a gruelling test of stamina and heart which takes a specific mould of horse to win and what type that is can be helpfully narrowed down with some trends and statistics which we’ll look at here. You can also check out our Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle tips here.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Trends
- Two ages dominate – 10 of the last 12 winners have been six or seven years old
- Stamina is key – 9 of the last 12 winners had won over three miles before
- Official ratings worth noting – 9 of the last 12 winners had been rated 140 or higher
- Class is still necessary – 10 of the last 12 winners had won a graded race before
- Match fitness doesn’t go amiss – 12 0f the last 12 winners had run at least 3 times that season
Trends – Key Runners
Next Destination ✅❌✅✅✅
Chef Des Obeaux ✅✅✅✅✅
Duc Des Genievres ✅❌✅❌❌
Red River ❌✅✅✅✅
Calett Mad ✅✅❌❌✅
Enniscoffey Oscar ✅✅✅✅✅
In terms of trends it is the Nicky Henderson trained Chef Des Obeaux who immediately catches the eye, he ticks all the boxes as a six year old with four races and three wins to his name this season including a Grade 2 over three miles at Haydock. An outsider who also does well is Enniscoffey Oscar.
Cracking Smart’s injury has left this market even more open than before and Next Destination, who many believe is being aimed at the Ballymore, currently sits at the top. He has been impressive in all of his starts this season and accounted for the previous antepost favourite on two occasions though that rival looked as if he was crying out for a step up in trip, Next Destination has yet to race over three miles however which has been seen as a key piece of experience if wanting to win this race in past years, that would be a concern but he is clearly a horse with plenty of ability and would have to have a shout if rocking up.
Nicky Henderson has a strong looking hand for this with Santini and Chef Des Obeaux both pretty short prices even at this stage. The former beat his stablemate over two and a half miles on his debut for the yard at Newbury and recorded his first graded success at Cheltenham next time when beating the Tom George trained Black Op by three quarters of a length on bottomless ground over two and a half miles. He is another who has yet to tackle the longer trip and it’d be a slight concern that he was not hardy enough at this stage in his career for what is a gruelling race for all that he is clearly a classy horse. There are no such concerns for his stablemate who was beaten in a bumper and on hurdling debut, but has not looked back since. A dual winner in testing ground over three miles including in horrible conditions last time when taking a Grade 2 by fifteen lengths, he looks made for this type of test and should go close.
Willie Mullins as always has plenty of possible participants and Duc Des Genievres might be the most likely of those to do the business if Next Destination is aimed elsewhere. As mentioned before it is no easy feat to win this race without winning form over three miles but he has looked a mightily talented horse in his two starts so far in Ireland and one that has been crying out for a step up in trip, he was staying on nicely behind Next Destination on his Irish debut in a Grade 1 and it was a similar story behind Samcro in the Deloitte last time. If finding some improvement for a step up in trip which is quite possible he’d be very interesting though the same owners have Chef Des Obeaux so he is far from a certain runner.
At bigger prices there are a few who appeal and Kim Bailey’s Red River tops that list. Five year olds have historically struggled in this contest but he has looked a very talented horse in his three starts over hurdles so far and accounted easily for the classy graded winner Mr Whipped in a novice hurdle last time out. He stayed on very powerfully at the end of three miles so the hill should hold no fears and he’d be one to consider. Calett Mad has been talked up a bit as a contender for this recently mostly due to his large amount of experience and toughness despite being just six, he was a runner in last year’s National Hunt Chase but has reverted to hurdles and done well this season including winning at this track, if this turned into a real slog rather than a class test he’d be bang there. Another interesting candidate would be Emma Lavelle’s Enniscoffey Oscar who was a good bumper horse and has done well over hurdles, he got off the mark two starts ago and followed up with a graded success at his first try over three miles, the test of stamina here could be right up his street and his experience could prove key.
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