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2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Tips - Two selections in this competitive Grade One

11 Mar 2022
jon-vine
Jon Vine 11 Mar 2022
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  • Ante-post tips and odds for the 2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
  • This Grade One takes place on day four of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday 18th March 2022
  • Ginto and Hillcrest could top the betting for this Grade One
  • Ballygriffincottage and Idas Boy feature in our betting tips
albert bartlett cheltenham
Ballygriffincottage (left) features in our Albert Bartlett tips. (Getty)

The traditional warm-up act before the Gold Cup on day four of the Cheltenham Festival is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

This three-mile event for novice hurdlers was introduced to the schedule in 2005 and has quickly grown into an important race. Penhill won the 2017 Albert Bartlett before scoring in the Stayers’ Hurdle the following year. Bobs Worth and Minella Indo also claimed their first Grade One wins in this race, before going on to lift the Gold Cup later in their careers.

I’ve taken a look through the current entries for the Albert Bartlett and picked out my best Cheltenham Festival tips.

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Odds


Name
Odds
Minella Crooner4/1
Ginto9/2
Minella Cocooner5/1
Hollow Games10/1
Journey With Me12/1
The Nice Guy14/1
Bar16/1

*Odds taken on 17/2/22*

Irish Raiders

The Nathaniel Lacy, run over 22-furlongs at the Dublin Racing Festival, often provides plenty of pointers towards the Albert Bartlett. Minella Cocooner was given a freebie on the front-end in that Grade One and Danny Mullins saved enough in the tank to run out a comfortable winner. Minella Crooner stayed on well for second having made a significant error at the penultimate flight, and it’s Gordon Elliott’s runner, rather than Willie Mullins’ winner, who tops the Albert Bartlett betting.

With Ginto likely to run in the Ballymore, Hollow Games will carry the hopes of Bective Stud. Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old looks every inch a dour stayer. He has, however, produced two underwhelming performances in Grade One company and he’s simply not a horse I’ve warmed to this season.

Willie Mullins could throw The Nice Guy into the Albert Bartlett, where he could be joined by stablemates Classic Getaway, Henn See, Ramillies and Whatdewant. John McConnell’s Bardenstown Lad has only been beaten once in five hurdles starts and won nicely at Cheltenham earlier in the season. 

Eric Bloodaxe slipped down the betting after a shocking run in the Nathaniel Lacy, but Joseph O’Brien’s charge proved his staying ability when picking up a Grade Two at Limerick over Christmas and he shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Home Challenge


Stag Horn2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle GET 16/1 HERE
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British runners have won just two of the last six editions of this three-miler. Hillcrest is one of just four home runners sitting below 33/1 in the current betting, and he looks set for an outing in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle instead.

Archie Watson’s Stag Horn is two-from-two over hurdles since transitioning from the flat. Rated as high as 108 on the level, Nick Scholfield’s mount made all to win the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick last time out, afterwhich Watson’s identified the Albert Bartlett as his likely Cheltenham Festival target.

Ballygriffincottage was beaten into third by former ante-post Bartlett favourite, Blazing Khal on his first start over hurdles in the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle and Dan Skelton’s charge won a shade cosily on Winter Millions day at Lingfield last time out. Green Book could also step up into Grade One company, having run out an impressive winner of the Heroes Handicap on his most recent outing at Sandown.

Dangerous Outsiders


Shantreusse2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle GET 16/1 HERE
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Falcon Eight landed the Chester Cup on the flat last season and Dermot Weld’s stayer won at the second time of asking over hurdles at Thurles earlier this month. Paul Nolan’s Daily Present looks like a horse to keep on-side.

Grand Jury
was well-beaten in the Nathaniel Lacy, but he was well-backed before the off that day – despite the poor form of Henry De Bromhead’s yard – and he was unsuited by the muddling pace set by Minella Cocooner. De Bromhead could also run Shantreusse, who ran out an easy winner of a Grade Three at Clonmel, on day four of the Cheltenham Festival.

River Don winner, Mahler Mission could join stablemate Bardenstown Lad in the Albert Bartlett. Martin Keighley’s strong stayer, Brorson is unlikely to get into the Pertemps Final off a mark of 130, so could end up in this Grade One instead. Idas Boy was narrowly beaten last time out by Gerri Colombe, who had sat prominently in the Albert Bartlett betting before being scratched earlier this week.

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Best Bets - UPDATED


After my initial selection for the race, Minella Crooner was ruled out injured, there's a chance Gordon Elliott could switch Ginto to the Albert Bartlett. Henry Daly has also confirmed that Hillcrest will run at Cheltenham and, based on his recent win at Haydock, he must be in with a huge shout.

That being said, neither really whet my appetite for a punt the way that Minella Crooner did. Both are a little short in the market for what they've actually achieved. 

The fact that Bardenstown Lad, who's admirable but only rated just 137, and The Nice Guy, who has started just three races in his life, can be backed at single figure prices tells you something about the lack of quality in this year's Albert Bartlett. So, while Ginto and Hillcrest would be worthy winners, I'm going to take the market leaders on with a couple of each way selections.

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Value Bet 1 – Ballygriffincottage


Ballygriffincottage E/W2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Value BetGET 25/1 HERE
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Seven of the last eight winners of the Albert Bartlett went off at a double-figure price, so it seems sensible to back another runner at longer odds. The one who captures my imagination most is BALLYGRIFFINCOTTAGE, who was thrown straight into Grade Two company on his first start for Dan Skelton.

That stable debut came here at Cheltenham during the International Meeting, where Harry Skelton’s mount ran a cracker to finish a close third behind Blazing Khal and Gelino Bello, who had finished first and second in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle the previous month. Ballygriffincottage was then sent to Lingfield for the £16k three-mile novices hurdle during the Winter Millions meeting, where he survived a couple of jumping scares before running out a cosy winner.

While he may only have two starts under rules to his name, Ballygriffincottage ran in four point-to-points for Irish handler Marie Harding last season. Skelton’s recruit won three of those three milers, registering strong RPRs in the 90s during two of those victories. With an excellent run over course-and-distance and a confidence-boosting victory under his belt, I see no reason why Ballygriffincottage can’t mount a serious challenge on day four of the Cheltenham Festival.

2022 Albert Bartlet Novices' Hurdle Value Bet 2 - Idas Boy



I'm also going to back Noel Meade's IDAS BOY at a massive price. Meade's eight-year-old is a former point-to-point winner, who ran well in defeat twice in novice hurdle last season.

On his return to action this term, Bryan Cooper's mount shook off his maiden tag with an easy win over three miles, where future two-time winner and possible Pertemps runner, Futurm Regem was well beaten back in fourth. Idas Boy then attempted to make all again at Thurles, but was edged out in the closing stages by Churchstone Warrior.

After a surprisingly limp effort in a Grade Three at Cork in December, Idas Boy bounced back to form with a fine runner-up effort behind Gerri Colombe at Thurles in January, reversing the form with Churchstone Warrior in the process.

Gerri Colombe had sat prominently in the Albert Bartlett betting prior to being ruled out with injury. Idas Boy has the ideal profile for this three-miler and the fact that he was only beaten a length by Gerri Colombe suggests to me that he's wildly overpriced at 40/1.
GB

Verdict

The general rule of thumb with the Albert Bartlett is to back an experienced sort, who has been tried in Graded company and remains open to further improvement. Ballygriffincottage and Idas Boy both fit that profile, so I'll chance my arm with both at each way prices.

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Value Bet 1: Ballygriffincottage Each-Way @25/1 at Ladbrokes - 15 Units
2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Value Bet 1: Idas Boy Each-Way @40/1 at betfair - 5 Units
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