The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle was added to the Cheltenham festival in 2005. It is run over three miles so the emphasis is very much on stamina. Bobs Worth won the race in 2011 and would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2013. Irish trained horses have won the Albert Bartlett for the past two seasons, although Willie Mullins is yet to win the race.
Barters Hill puts unbeaten record on the line at Cheltenham
Ben Pauling’s Barters Hill has been among the favourites for the race all season. The six-year-old son of Kalanisi won all four starts in National Hunt flat races last season, culminating in the Grade 2 Aintree Champion Bumper.
He was odds-on to make a winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon in November where he beat North Hill Harvey by 14 lengths. The runner-up boosted the form by winning at Cheltenham in December. Barters Hill then made all to beat Politologue in the three-runner Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury. Barters Hill stepped up to three miles for the first time at Doncaster in January. He was forced to work hard to beat Ballydine by three-quarters of a length.
Neil Mulholland’s Shantou Village lost his unbeaten record at Cheltenham in January when left trailing by Yanworth. The winner is a short-priced favourite for the Neptune Hurdle and Shantou Village could improve for the step up to three miles. He had previously won impressively by fifteen lengths at Cheltenham in November.
Unowhatimeanharry looks over-priced at 20-1 for the Albert Bartlett
Gangster expected to lead Mullins bid in Albert Bartlett
Willie Mullins is likely to run several here as he tries to win the race for the first time. The shortest in the betting is Gangster, a ten lengths winner at Fairyhouse in December. That race was over three miles so there are no stamina concerns with the son of Green Tune. Stable companion Up For Review looks held by Barters Hill on Doncaster form having finished more than 20 lengths adrift in fourth place.
Thomas Hobson beat Open Eagle by two and a half lengths at Warwick over an extended two and a half miles in January. He didn’t appear to have a lot left in the locker that day and this trip could find him out.
Unowhatimeanharry has gone from strength-to-strength this season for Harry Fry. He landed a gamble in a Cheltenham handicap off a mark of 123 in November. His latest win at Exeter was achieved off a 15lbs higher mark. The stable are in top form heading to Cheltenham and he could prove good each-way value. Fry is also considering the Pertemps Hurdle but is concerned that a 14lbs rise may prove too much in the big handicap.
Free Horse Racing Betting Tips – Cheltenham 18/03/2016
Gangster (each-way) @8-1
Unowhatimeanharry (each-way) @20-1
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3 (Non-Runner No Bet)