Cheltenham - At The Races

14:50 Cheltenham 15 Mar 2019

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle) (Class 1) (4YO plus)

Winner £73,506 - 20 ran


2m 7f 213y

Good to Soft

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Last year’s race

Kilbricken Storm
  • Winner: Kilbricken Storm
  • Jockey: H Cobden
  • Trainer: C L Tizzard
  • Owner: A Selway & P Wavish
  • Age: 7 Weight: 11st 5lb
  • Starting Price: 33/1
  • Season Form Figures: 3113
  • Previous Best: 1st - Bristol Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2), Cheltenham (Dec 2017)

The Albert Bartlett can be such a brutal examination of a novice’s stamina, and especially on soft ground like in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2018 which were slogs, so it can lead to surprise results like Kilbricken Storm’s 33/1 success last year.

Experience counts which is no better illustrated by the fact that although this is a race restricted to novices, six of the 14 winners had run over hurdles the previous season. The 2017 winner Penhill, didn’t fit that profile but he was vastly experienced from the flat where he ran 18 times so was battle hardened. He became only the second winner that had run on the flat and the other was in a non-thoroughbred race in France.

Experience counts which is no better illustrated by the fact that although this is a race restricted to novices, six of the 14 winners had run over hurdles the previous season.

The Hyde, Bristol and Classic Novice Hurdles, all Grade 2 events run at Cheltenham at the November, December and late-January Meetings respectively, have featured nine of the 14 Albert Bartlett winners between them so previous Cheltenham experience has been a notable factor so far, especially as there have been four Irish-trained winners and it is rare for the best novice hurdlers to travel over from Ireland before the Festival. The best record of those races belongs to the Classic Novices’ Hurdle won by Birchdale with four of the last 12 winners going on to win and not all winners from Trials Day would have ended up in the Albert Bartlett. Santini was third last season after he won the ‘Classic’.

It was the ‘Bristol’ that was the key guide from Cheltenham earlier in the season in 2017/18 as Kilbricken Storm won both races emulating Black Jack Ketchum, Nenuphar Collonges and Unowhatimeaharry. This season that Grade 2 in December was won by Rockpoint, though Lisnagar Oscar (3rd) comprehensively reversed placings at Haydock in February.

The most notable Irish guide so far has been the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown which last year was upgraded to a Grade 1 and bumped up in trip from 2m4f to 2m6f. This season’s winner, Commander Of Fleet, looks set to be the chief Gigginstown contender and they have won the Albert Bartlett twice and also supplied the close-up second and third in 2015 and looked set to supply the favourite last year, Cracking Smart, until he was injured. Willie Mullins had fired 25 bullets including three favourites and finally got his first Albert Bartlett winner two years ago with Penhill.

Martello Tower and Penhill won the Grade 2 novices’ hurdle over 3m at Limerick over Christmas en route to winning the Albert Bartlett which this season was won by Derrinross.

At a glance summary

Second-season hurdlers
Owned by Gigginstown House Stud
Previous quality novice hurdle form at Cheltenham
Contested a race over at least three miles before
Won a pattern race over hurdles
Fewer than three runs over hurdles
Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2018 Soft 20 Kilbricken Storm 7 11 5 - 5-13113 76 days C Tizzard (83 miles) H Cobden 33/1 6:13.60
2017 Good 15 Penhill 6 11 5 - 611141 78 days W P Mullins P Townend 16/1 5:49.50
2016 Good 19 Unowhatimeanharry 8 11 5 - 7P-1111 33 days H Fry (101 miles) N Fehily 11/1 5:48.10
2015 Soft 19 Martello Tower 7 11 7 - 1-11F12 47 days Ms Margaret Mullins A P Heskin 14/1 6:00.30
2014 Good 18 Very Wood 5 11 7 - 11-1253 68 days N Meade Paul Carberry 33/1 5:50.50
2013 Soft 13 At Fishers Cross 6 11 7 - 25-1111 48 days Miss R Curtis (124 miles) A P McCoy 11/8 6:40.10
2012 Good 20 Brindisi Breeze 6 11 7 - B12111 27 days Miss L Russell (363 miles) C Gillies 7/1 5:47.10
2011 Good 18 Bobs Worth 6 11 7 - 21-111 48 days N Henderson (51 miles) B J Geraghty 15/8 5:42.00
2010 Good 20 Berties Dream 7 11 7 - 112F34 33 days P Gilligan A Lynch 33/1 5:55.70
2009 Good to Soft 17 Weapon's Amnesty 6 11 7 - 25-5112 47 days C Byrnes D N Russell 8/1 5:59.90