Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, 2.50 at Cheltenham, 15 March 2019, Cheltenham Festival Day Four
One of three Grade 1 contests on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Here we provide our betting tips and highlight some of the best odds and offers surrounding this race.
First run in 2005, this £118,000+ Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle sees the top staying novices battle it out over three miles and 12 fences of the New Course at Cheltenham.
Betting Tips for the 2019 Albert Bartlett
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Betting Offers 2019
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Tips and 2019 Race Preview
The Cheltenham Festival has three Grade 1 hurdles for novices during its four days. At 3 miles, the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is the longest of them. It’s only been a part of the Festival since 2005 but has already provided a Gold Cup winner in Bobs Worth who won the Albert Bartlett in 2011 and connections of some of those to have been declared for this year’s renewal believe their charges can go all the way to the top level of National Hunt racing.
Stamina and Pace Mark Linsagar Oscar Out
The betting market for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has been without a clear favourite for pretty much the entire time the bookies have been taking odds. As we get closer to the off two horses have moved into joint favouritism – Commander Of Fleet and Linsagar Oscar.
There are any number of different potential routes into the Albert Bartlett but one of the most common trends that binds recent winners is having at least one run over 3 miles. Commander Of Fleet did just that in a point to point back in March but 22 furlongs is the furthest he’s been over hurdles. Is that a worry? Optimists will say he looks to have enough stamina for it not to be but many others believe a bet on Linsagar Oscar is a safer option.
Rebecca Curtis’ six-year-old won over 3 miles ½ a furlong last time out at Haydock. That victory came in an official trial for this race so his price understandably came in. The step up in trip that day at Haydock looked exactly what Linsagar Oscar needed but he showed enough pace to win over 2 miles 3 furlongs at Chepstow.
With no concerns about him getting the trip and the pace to pull away from the competition as they charge up the Cheltenham hill, Linsagar Oscar is the favourite to support at 11/2 with 888Sport.
Second Season Novice Can Utilise His Experience
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has a reputation as being a horrible race to ride in. Jockeys have to show all of their steel and experience to guide their rides home and experience is also an important attribute on behalf of the horses.
Punters want to be backing a horse who will not wilt and will dig in impressively when the going gets seriously tough and many believe that backing second season novices is a smart play. If you agree then it’s impossible to ignore the 10/1 that Ladbrokes are quoting about the chances of Derrinross.
Connections are delighted with the way that this eight-year-old has improved this season as he’s been stepped up in trip to 3 miles. He’ll relish another crack at the distance and whilst this represents a stiff improvement in terms of competition he very much warrants each way support.
- 2018 – Kilbricken Storm – jockey Harry Cobden, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2017 – Penhill – jockey Paul Townend, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2016 – Unowhatimeanharry – jockey Noel Fehily, trainer Harry Fry
- 2015 – Martello Tower – jockey Adrian Heskin, trainer Margaret Mullins
- 2014 – Very Wood – jockey Paul Carberry, trainer Noel Meade
- 2013 – At Fishers Cross – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Rebecca Curtis
- 2012 – Brindisi Breeze – jockey Campbell Gillies, trainer Lucinda Russell
- 2011 – Bobs Worth – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2010 – Berties Dream – jockey Andrew Lynch, trainer John Paul Gilligan
- 2009 – Weapon’s Amnesty – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Charles Byrnes
- 2008 – Nenuphar Collonges – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
- 2007 – Wichita Lineman – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2006 – Black Jack Ketchum – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Trends
Trainers were very happy when the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle was introduced to Cheltenham in 2005 as it gave their long distance prospects a chance to shine.
In its relatively short history the Grade 1 race has produced staying stars over hurdles and fences so it’s unsurprising that so many recent winners had already proved their stamina win wins over 3m before.
In terms of incoming form every winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle up to 2018 had competed over at least 2m4f last time out. Those 14 winners also placed no worse than fourth in their most recent performance with around half winning.
Trainers Share the Spoils
Although many trainers view the Albert Bartlett as a very important step along the road to greater success for some of their leading horses it’s not a race which any one particular trainer has been able to dominate. In fact, Jono O’Neill was the only trainer with multiple wins in the first 14 editions. Tony McCoy (three wins) and Robert Thornton (two wins) were the only jockeys to win multiple times in that same period.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winners such as Penhill, Wichita Lineman and 2013 Gold Cup winner, Bobs Worth, all went on to have further Cheltenham Festival success but the qualities of all winners is not immediately clear. Bobs Worth and Wichita Lineman were rare winning favourites in a race which has produced three winners at 33/1.
There are many trials for punters to keep an eye on. The race of the same name at Cheltenham in December, the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury and the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock are especially worthy of closer inspection.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle History
Officially registered as the Spa Novices’ Hurdle this race was part of the 2005 expansion of the Cheltenham Festival. This three mile contest was included amongst the extra races that enabled a fourth day to be added, in order to provide a festival target for the high class staying novice hurdlers. Current sponsors Albert Bartlett took over from Brit Insurance in 2008, the year in which the race was also first granted Grade 1 status.
Despite being one of the newest races at the festival this event has already provided us with high class winners, thrilling finishes and more.
A number of the early winners of this contest have gone on to further success at future Cheltenham Festival’s. Charles Byrnes 2009 winner, Weapon’s Amnesty, went on to win the RSA Chase in 2010. This feat was repeated by Bobs Worth who won this race in 2011 and the RSA Chase in 2012. Nicky Henderson’s battler wasn’t finished yet though as he stormed up the Cheltenham hill once again to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2013.
Tony McCoy enjoyed a fruitful time of things in this event, winning it three times in total. His second win came aboard a horse with whom he will forever be associated. Often cited as the ride which best typified McCoy’s strength and never say die attitude is that aboard Wichita Lineman in the 2009 William Hill Trophy at this track. He didn’t need those attributes to such an extent here in 2007 however as Wichita Lineman posted a commanding 12 length success. The now retired McCoy tops the jockeys table for this race.
Most successful amongst the training ranks is McCoy’s frequent partner in crime, Jonjo O’Neill. Jonjo saddled Black Jack Ketchum in 2006 and provided McCoy with the ride aboard Wichita Lineman a year later. As of 2015 O’Neill is the only trainer to have won the race more than once.
The history of this race also contains a tale of real tragedy. The 2012 victory of Brindisi Breeze marked a career highlight for both the horse and his jockey Campbell Gillies. In the space of just four months neither Brindisi Breeze nor Campbell Gillies would be with us any longer. Around two months after his Cheltenham heroics, Brindisi Breeze escaped from his paddock in the middle of the night and was instantly killed when hit on a nearby road.
Six weeks later Campbell Gillies drowned in a swimming pool whilst holidaying in Corfu, two days before his 22nd Birthday. We will never know the heights to which this talented duo may have ascended in what is a truly heart-breaking tale.