Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

By James Regan – @racingtracker on Twitter

My final written preview falls on Gold Cup day and I decided to look at the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, not many favourites win this, but it does produce some very good horses.

Santini for Nicky Henderson currently heads the market and is 2 from 2 with wins at Newbury and Cheltenham, the run at Cheltenham is very solid, he beat Black Op who was a tad unlucky and made a couple of mistakes and only got done close home. These 2 are very closely matched so at the best prices I would much rather side with Black Op.

Next Destination is very much likely to go in the Ballymore. Chef Des Obeaux for me is the better of the more fancied ones from Henderson’s yard, even though Santini was ahead of him at Newbury in December, I think Chef Des Obeaux now has that bit more experience and will be more battle ready for the job in hand.

Duc Des Genievres if turning up has that Samcro form from the Dublin Racing Festival when 2nd but is the trip a tad too far this early on, not for me at this stage.

The horse that could be under the radar here is Chris’s Dream absolutely bolted in last time out, yes it was heavy ground and Burren Life in 3rd ran a shocker but still to win by 64 lengths he could literally be anything.

Poetic Rhythm has a solid profile and lots of experience at Cheltenham but his only when there come in a Bumper back in November 2016, so I would be avoiding him, same goes for Calett Mad.

Vinndication looks a real trier, tough, straightforward and his price for me is a bit higher than what it should, a few of these don’t turn up he will go off shorter. I was really impressed with his win over a very solid yardstick in Western Ryder at Huntingdon. He won a close finish at Ascot on heavy ground over 2m6f, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned about his stamina.

With the rest you would really need to look out for the entries but the one that catches my eye if he goes is Brahma Bull unbeaten with 4 wins from 4. So, I wouldn’t discount him at all, could easily do a Penhill.

Best Prices

I’ll take 3 against the field here for small stakes EW

Vinndication EW 20/1, Chris’s Dream EW 12/1 & Black Op EW 20/1

Each Way Option, Brahma Bull EW 33/1

Visit our Cheltenham Festival 2018 Race Previews page for lots more analysis and Cheltenham tips.