Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Tips – Day 4 – Cheltenham 2015
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
The big races just keep coming throughout the final day, with the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.40) next up for punters who will again be looking to feast on a Willie Mullins favourite.
Hercules Strong For Mullins
Carrying the torch for Mullins is Black Hercules, who has been punted into 5/1 favoritism ever since winning a Grade 3 novice in December (3m, heavy).
It was an impressive victory that took his hurdles record to 2-2, and while both wins came on heavy ground, his fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper suggests he will enjoy Friday’s conditions.
The Irish challenge remains strong in their bid to win it for a fourth time on seven years, with Gordon Elliott’s, No More Heroes (6/1) also amongst the leading fancies.
A Grade 2 winner at Navan in December (2m4f, soft) made it back-to back to wins before disappointing in another Grade 2 at Leopardstown last time (2m4f, yielding). The concern is that the drying ground didn’t suit that day, and it’s unlikely to be any different on Friday.
Four lengths in front of No More Heroes at Leopardstown was Margaret Mullins’, Martello Tower (10/1), who led two from home before being headed by Outlander (ran in Wednesday’s Neptune). He was done for speed that day, however, as he previously he got up late to beat Outlander over 3m (heavy), taking his record over 3m (including in points) to 3-3.
But, what of the British challenge? Well, their main hope comes in the shape of Dan Skelton’s 6yo, Value At Risk (7/1), who got off the mark over hurdles over 2m3f, before a close second in Grade 2 company here last time (2m4f, soft). The manner in which he rallied late suggests a step up in trip would suit, and as he is closely related to a 3m2f winner, Friday’s trip could bring more improvement.
The Brit Challenge also comes via Nigel Twiston-Davies’, Blaklion (10/1), a Grade 2 winner over C&D in December (good to soft), who was beaten just over 1l by Parlour Games a few weeks later. A second Grade 2 was almost his but for a head defeat to Caracci Apache over this 3m trip at Doncaster last time (good to soft), and he looks a solid prospect for each-way backers. It’s also worth noting that each of the last 10 winners of this race all ran in a Grade 2 race last time out.
As for Nicky Henderson’s, Caracci Apache (10/1), then he brings a 3-3 hurdles record to the race, including that narrow win at Doncaster last time. He relished the 3m trip that day, and an even stiffer test over it looks sure to see him improve further. Considering his profile and trainer, it’s surprising to see him at 10/1.
One who has yet to face Graded company is Thomas Brown (12/1), a winner of a small novice here at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day (2m4f, good to soft). His trainer, Harry Fry, was of the opinion after that race that he was a three-miler, and with his dam placed over that trip, he shouldn’t be disgraced in this company.
With Willie Mullins enjoying such a good Cheltenham, it’s hard to get away from Black Hercules, who was a winner over this trip three months ago, and has been kept fresh for this assignment.