Albert Bartlett Hurdle, Cheltenham 14:40
There’s only one race left before the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as the Albert Bartlett Hurdle takes place with Boston Bob the odds against favourite with Betfred as the crowd warms up for the spectacle.
According to past trends, siding with horses who have proven course form at Cheltenham is the way to go when selecting the winner of the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, run over a gruelling three miles at Prestbury Park.
The course itself, especially the three-mile trip, is very unique as it contains plenty of undulations at the top of the hill and it takes a very streetwise horse to be able to deal with the layout.
The nature of the track is very hard for novices, who are very inexperienced, to get to grips with, so it’s not a surprise to see that of the last seven winners of the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, six had previously raced at Cheltenham before.
This doesn’t bode well for the two clear market leaders, Boston Bob and Mount Benbulben, as they will be making their course debut at Prestbury Park after racing in Ireland for their careers so far.
Course form isn’t a problem for Sea Of Thunder, however, who looked to be running out a very impressive winner of the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Bristol Novices’ Hurdle Race) at Cheltenham earlier this season before tipping up at the final flight.
He has subsequently been beaten by both the market leaders in Ireland but don’t rule him out from reversing that form back at his favoured course, especially at a juicy looking 9/1.
Proven stamina, unsurprisingly, is also a key trait to look for in a potential winner of this long-distance hurdle.
It probably won’t be revolutionary to know that 16 of the 21 win and placed horses had run over three miles before running well at the Festival, which again counts against the two market leaders, who have only raced as far as two miles and five furlongs thus far in their careers.