There is less than a week to go now before the Festival begins, and a final ante-post selection to add to the current portfolio. Whilst it is difficult to see any of the current markets changing dramatically between now and Tuesday – barring any notable non-runners – a race that I feel has plenty of value in it is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. For all our Cheltenham free tips and betting offers read our Cheltenham free bets page.
Nicky Henderson is well represented here with Birchdale and Dickie Diver, the former was arguably a fortuitous winner of the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle at this venue last time out. The aforementioned Dickie Diver was a wide margin Point to Point winner who has run well in both of his starts over hurdles to date.
Both hold legitimate claims here, but this is a race that usually goes to a more experienced horse, so I would fear that this race is going to be coming too early in their respective careers.
Lisnagar Oscar is an improving sort and his yard won this race with At Fishers Cross in 2013, so know what it takes to win it. He was just a head in front of Dickie Diver on his penultimate start, however, and that rival was making his debut under rules that day, so should make a bold bid to reverse that form.
Commander Of Fleet has won three of his four starts under rules to date and arrives here on the back of a Grade 1 win at Leopardstown. He is currently vying for favouritism in most ante-post markets, but Gordon Elliott has claimed that this son of Fame And Glory is still a ‘big baby’ and five-year-olds do not have a particularly strong record in this race.
The one I like in this race actually finished behind Commander Of Fleet at Leopardstown last time out, and that horse is Rhinestone. Joseph O’Brien’s charge was just a half-length behind the aforementioned Commander Of Fleet last time out, and he now meets that rival on two-pound better terms, so is weighted to reverse that form.
A very smart bumper horse last season – who finished a creditable ninth in the Champion Bumper at last year’s Festival – his form has improved since tackling hurdles, and he has shaped as though the step up to this trip would suit him. He looks versatile in regard to ground conditions, and with his yard set for a big day on Friday, an early winner could see his price shorten before the start of the race.
RHINESTONE – 12/1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
ADJALI – 20/1 Triumph Hurdle
VINNDICATION – RSA Chase
N/A (Ruled out of the Festival earlier this week)
CITY ISLAND – 10/1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
DYNAMITE DOLLARS – Arkle Novices’ Chase
N/A (Out for the season)
THOMAS DARBY – 20/1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
FOX NORTON – Ryanair Chase
N/A (Ruled out due to injury)
Our Cheltenham Festival Tips page is now live, and has selections for races including the Champion Hurdle, Stayers Hurdle and Gold Cup.