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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 2023 Trends

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 7 mins

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 2023 Trends

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2023 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Trends

The last 10 winners:

  • Had run at least three times in the last 12 months
  • Had not won a Grade 1 hurdle race before - no Grade 1 winner has ever won this race
  • Had won all outings at Cheltenham
  • Last ran at least 29 days ago, but no more than 78
  • If they ran in a handicap hurdle last time out, they won it
  • Had won at least one hurdle race

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Had at least placed in a Grade 2 or Grade 3 hurdle (exception, unbeaten The Nice Guy)
  • Had won a race with a distance of at least 2m7f (The Nice Guy)
  • Finished in the first three last time out (Vanillier) - five winning
  • Had won on a course described as galloping (Minella Indo was a maiden)
  • Were aged six or older (five-year-old Very Wood)

Key Trials in the last 10 years

  • The Grade 2 Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham has produced one winners (At Fishers Cross) and three placed finishers in the past 10 years. Rock My Way won this in 2023.
  • The Grade 2 Prestige Novices' Hurdle has not produced a winner or placed finisher in the last 10 years, despite the last eight winners going on to run in the Albert Bartlett. None finished better than fifth. The 2023 running is on February 18.
  • Traditionally, the 2m4f Grade 2 at Leopardstown was a good trial, but that has been replaced by a 2m6f Grade 1. So far this race has produced two seconds and one winner in Vanillier. The 2023 edition was won by Cool Land.
  • Though popular, the Grade 2 Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick has not produced any winners in the last 10 years. The last two winners did run in the Albert Bartlett, but were pulled up. Grey Dawning won this trial in 2023.
  • The winner of the Albert Bartlett tends to not have much Graded race experience, and often comes into the race having just run in an ungraded event. It's not a negative.

Trainer Trends

  • Gordon Elliott is due a change of fortune in this race having had four well-fancied horses hitting the frame in recent years. No doubt he will break his duck soon.
  • Willie Mullins bagged his third Albert Bartlett with The Nice Guy in 2022 and has now won half of the last six renewals, but he has fired an awful lot of darts at this race in the past decade.
  • Nicky Henderson has struck once, as has Colin Tizzard and Harry Fry in recent years, but Irish trainers have been the ones to follow since 2014, winning six of the last eight editions.
  • Colin Tizzard is perhaps the best trainer to follow, he's 1/10, with two placed horses too, but if you had bet £1 on all his runners, you'd now be up £23.

Jockey Trends

  • Paul Townend is the only current jockey to have won the Albert Bartlett more than once.

How did the trends do last year?

The Nice Guy was not an obvious winner on trends, given he had never been tried over further than 2m3f, or outside maiden company.

Being trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland was a positive though, as was his Naas maiden hurdle win on a galloping, left-handed track. However, he was hard to pick on trends.

He won by five lengths and actually did have similarities with the 2021 winner Vanillier, so perhaps the profile of this race's winner is changing.

Second Minella Cocooner, the winner's stablemate, had won the key Leopardstown trial and was a much stronger pick on trends overall.

Interestingly, all of the first four finishers had won last time out in January or February hurdle races.

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2023?

The four horses that the trends fit best are Limerick Grade 2 winner Favori De Champdou, his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Cool Survivor, Gavin Cromwell's Punchestown winner Letsbeclearaboutit, and Doncaster Grade 2 winner Maximilian.

This quartet all fit all the key trends, having won races over a distance of at least 2m7f, finished in the first three last time out, at least placed in a Grade 2 or Grade 3 and run at least three times in the last 12 months.

They've all shown they can stay, have experience and have recent form, but are also coming into the race with enough of a break to take on the stamina test.

A slight negative for Favori De Champdou is that he has not run at all on a left-handed track, and also hasn't won on a course described as 'galloping', which is a key trend for most Cheltenham races.

The other trio have won on a galloping track. Maximilian is the only one to have won racing left-handed.

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st The Nice Guy 18/1 Willie Mullins Sean O'Keeffe
2nd Minella Cocoooner 9/2 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
3rd Bardenstown Lad 20/1 John McConnell Sean Bowen

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.