The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle is the last of three hurdles for the very best novice hurdlers and the most gruelling of the trio and this is the one that is most likely to go to a traditionally bred National Hunt type rather than a horse off the flat.
The Albert Bartlett Hurdle could develop into the main target for long term chase prospects during their novice hurdling campaign and it could also prove to be a good pointer to future years’ World Hurdles, although that “trend” may take time to develop.
The race was added to the Festival in 2005 and provides a valuable opportunity for staying novice hurdlers as it is run over three miles. Taking a look at the winners there is definitely an argument for supporting the strongest stayer in the race given the tough nature of the race and three of the last five winners had won at Cheltenham before and last year’s winner had previous course experience when finishing third there earlier in the season. Paul Nicholls Cheltenham Festival record is generally pretty good, but he is yet to land this race in its short history.
Last time out, this race became a real war of attrition in the easing ground – that was certainly in favour of the winner Berties Dream who despite not going as well as some of his rivals was ultimately the strongest stayer and he out battled them up the Cheltenham hill. Najaf in second was expected to relish this test of stamina and that proved to be the case, he briefly hit the front coming to the last flight but didn´t see it out quite as well as the winner up the hill.
Kennel Hill (third), talented but something of a character ran another remarkable race. Held up in last place for much of the way, he was still only in 12th place jumping two out and looked more likely to pull up at that stage, but he then consented to run on and finished a highly unlikely third.
Arvika Ligeonniere who was running all over the leaders turning for home only for his stamina to give out is definitely one to take out of the race as is faller at the last Restless Harry who did not deserve that fate after a game effort.
Weapon’s Amnesty became the first Irish-trained winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2009, taking the spoils for trainer Charles Byrnes and jockey Davy Russell and they quickly followed up last year with the success of Berties Dream. Irish horses filled three of the first six places and it looks to be an event where it will pay to follow them in the future and anyone looking for horse racing tips should remember this.
Previous Cheltenham form especially winning form should be respected and the more experience a horse has the better it is. Sometimes it can pay to ignore the form book and just back the strongest stayer as this race is a gruelling test often run on ground that has been used all week. 16 of the 18 win-and-placed horses finished 1st or 2nd last time out and recent form should be paid special attention to.