14:50 Cheltenham Fri 15 March 2019
- Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle) (Class 1)
- 2m 7f 213y, Good to Soft
- 20 Runners
- Surface: Turf
Disappointed in a bumper at Leopardstown (fourth) on Boxing Day but is considered to be a chaser in the making; much wiser on hurdles debut at Clonmel (3m, Grade 3) when beating Minella Indo by 4L; strong likelihood of further improvement.
Sprung a 50/1 surprise when winning the French Furze at Newcastle in December (form franked); unable to match the finishing kick of Lisnagar Oscar when beaten 10L (second) in the 3m Grade 2 Prestige (Haydock); soft ground ideal.
Sole win came at Kelso in November (2m6f+) at very prohibitive odds; work to do with Rockpoint and Lisnagar Oscar based on December C&D form; in deep in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle latest (sixth); fresh from wind surgery.
Point-to-point winner; unbeaten in two starts under rules since joining Nicky Henderson and JP McManus; in contention when left clear at the final flight by Brewin'upastorm in the Ballymore Trial (2m4f, good to soft) here in January.
Clearly stays very well and handles cut underfoot; steps up in grade after winning a 3m handicap (Pertemps Qualifier) at Punchestown in February - probably flattered by the winning margin of 3¼L.
3-4 under rules (2-3 over hurdles); tasted Grade 1 success when bravely fending off Rhinestone up the extended run-in at Leopardstown (2m6f). In excellent hands, so probable that he'll continue to progress with stamina seemingly being his forte.
His only win came in a fast ground 2m3f+ Fontwell maiden in October. However, his standout effort was when beaten 3½L by the mare Alsa Mix at Sandown in December (2m4f, heavy); wears first-time cheekpieces; unlikely.
Rock-solid since switched to hurdling; has returned to action better than ever this season with back-to-back Grade 2 & 3 3m wins at Cork and Limerick (soft/heavy); shouldn't be underestimated returning fresh from a 76-day absence.
Cost £210,000; runner-up on rules debut at Chepstow (2m3½f, good to soft) when unfortunate to be beaten a head by Lisnagar Oscar; decisive odds-on maiden winner back there the following month; clearly a talent; today's step up in trip is a plus.
Progressed quickly over hurdles during the early months of the season, notching a five-timer when taking a Class 2 C&D contest by 14L in October; valid excuse (badly hampered) at Navan the following month; off since; prowess on soft a concern.
Dual hurdles winner (2m4f+); coughing post-race when flopping behind Derrinross at Limerick in December, but appeared a doubtful stayer when weakening to finish eighth of sixteen to Commander Of Fleet/Rhinestone at Leopardstown (2m6f+).
Left alone at the final flight (by likely winner Cool Saint) when recording a second win over hurdles in January (2m6f+ Thurles); stayed on from the rear when finishing a never nearer 7L fourth to Commander Of Fleet/Rhinestone latest; new trip.
Unable to reel in Rockpoint in a trial for this race (beaten 2¾L) in December; has thrived since beating Dickie Diver by a head at Chepstow (2m3½f); stormed clear in the 3m Grade 2 Prestige at Haydock (good) latest; solid chance.
Point-to-point winner who finished third in a Punchestown bumper behind the Ballymore winner City Island; 3lb better off with today's rival Allaho for a 4L defeat in a 3m Grade 2 contest at Clonmel in February; remains unexposed.
Former Flat racer (87-rated); 2-4 over hurdles (2m-3m); has been kept almost exclusively to a sound surface on Town Moor at Doncaster - beat Truckers Lodge by 22L in the Grade 2 River Don in January; rates as vulnerable on soft.
Ninth of 23 in last year's Champion Bumper; off the mark over hurdles at the first attempt in a big-field maiden at Naas (2m) before aiming higher; narrowly beaten by Commander Of Fleet in a 2m6f Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month; new trip.
Got the better of Lisnagar Oscar when winning the trial for this race over C&D in December (good to soft). However, hasn't progressed since whilst the runner-up has thrived, handsomely reversing those placings in the 3m Grade 2 Prestige (Haydock).
Finished well down the field (16th of 23) at odds of 100/1 in last year's Champion Bumper; 2-5 over hurdles; has plenty of previous with many of today's rivals including Aye Aye Charlie, Rockpoint, Lisnagar Oscar and Ask Ben; needs more.
Has proved herself as a fine purchase at a cost of £65,000; gutsy Grade 2 winner in heavy ground at Sandown in December (beat Darlac by 3½L); lost her unbeaten record in the Grade 1 Challow (Newbury) 76-days ago; can she bounce back?
Stablemate of Allaho and Dorrells Pierji; 2-4 for Willie Mullins, with her best performance coming when beating Felix Desjy by 3½L at Limerick (2m4f, soft/hvy) in December; unseated her rider early in Commander Of Fleet's race latest; new trip.
Last Year's Winner
|T: C L TizzardJ: H Cobden|
Commander Of Fleet (4/1), Birchdale (6/1), Lisnagar Oscar (13/2), Allaho (8/1), Rhinestone (17/2), Dinons (9/1), Derrinross (12/1), Dickie Diver (14/1), Stoney Mountain (16/1), Salsaretta (25/1), First Approach (25/1), Dorrells Pierji (25/1), Aye Aye Charlie (33/1), Cap York (33/1), Ask Ben (33/1), Nadaitak (33/1), Rockpoint (33/1), Minella Indo (50/1), Alsa Mix (100/1), Darlac (100/1)
- Dickie Diver
- Lisnagar Oscar
Log in for access to this exclusive content.
Next Race Off
Ashley Iveson makes Exceeding Power his best bet of the day at Lingfield on Friday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value from Kelso and Newbury on Saturday afternoon as a rare visitor to the Scottish track could have a day to remember.
Andrew Balding's Stone Of Destiny is a strong fancy for Simon Holt at Lingfield - he has three Saturday selections.