What are the best bets on the Albert Bartlett Hurdle?
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race, 3m
Last year’s 1-2-3: Martello Tower (14/1), Milsean (33/1), No More Heroes (6/1) – 19 ran.
Connections of Barters Hill toyed with the idea of running in the shorter Neptune but this absolutely looks the right race for this staying type, who arrives here unbeaten in seven starts (four bumpers and three hurdles). He’s done it the hard way too, making all on all three of his hurdle starts, and he showed his battling qualities on his first attempt over 3m at Doncaster last time, having been strongly pressed by the runner-up Ballydine approaching the last.
However, his style of running will give some hope to the other jockeys and the news that he “pulled out stiff” on Wednesday morning according to his trainer Ben Pauling has to be a concern for potential backers. I think he can taken on and I’m warming to the chances of GANGSTER, who is trained by a certain Willie Mullins who is carrying all before him much like 12 months ago. But there’s more to like about the six-year-old than just his trainer. As a half-brother to Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite Of Passage, he is bred to be a stout stayer and having showed enough speed to win over two miles at Listowel in September, he easily pulled clear of the opposition when landing a Grade 3 over 3m before Christmas.
He’s not been seen since and has been difficult to train according to Mullins, who also confirmed he has only recently got over a small setback. However, he works “fantastically well” when right and is “fine at the moment”, so there’s every reason to think he is going to run his race – surely he wouldn’t be running if connections weren’t happy with him? Furthermore, as a strong travelling sort he will benefit from the run of the race by sitting off what promises to be a strong gallop, picking off the leaders late on. Well, that’s the theory and I reckon it’s worth paying the 7/1 to find out.
Shantou Village, who chased home Yanworth here on Trials Day, is the one I’m most frightened of with his stable in fine form.
SELECTION: Gangster @ 7/1 Paddy Power (money back as a free bet if 2nd)