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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 2020 Racecard

The third race on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Spa Novices’ Hurdle – often known as the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – is a Grade 1 race run over approximately three miles of Cheltenham’s New course, during which twelve hurdles are jumped. As the third race on the fourth day, it immediately precedes the Festival’s most famous race of all, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

2:50

Friday 13 March

Distance: 23f 213y Age: 4yo + Prize: £130630 Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. AIONE (FR)
J: D. E. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-5
Excellent chasing prospect who is getting better by the run over hurdles and showed a good attitude to land a novice at Naas with a bit to spare last time. Should relish the step up in trip.
33 stars

2
jockey silks 2. CAT TIGER (FR)
J: Mr David Maxwell
T: Paul Nicholls
6
11-5
Smart chaser in France who has shown useful winning form in novice hurdles for new yard this term, easily defying double penalty at Plumpton in January. Needs more to make serious impact up in grade
33 stars

3
jockey silks 3. COBBLER'S WAY (IRE)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
6
11-5
Bumper winner who was off the mark over hurdles at Leopardstown in December, then improved further when only denied by Latest Exhibition in Grade 1 company there last time. Not discounted.
33 stars

4
jockey silks 4. FOXY JACKS (IRE)
J: Philip Enright
T: M. F. Morris, Ireland
6
11-5
Fairly useful hurdler. Didn't need to improve to belatedly open his account in a 2½m Punchestown maiden 3 weeks ago, but looks set for a struggle now pitched into Grade 1 company.
11 stars

5
jockey silks 5. FURY ROAD (IRE)
J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
11-5
Useful in bumpers. Impressive in winning first 3 starts over hurdles, including Grade 2 at Limerick in December. Not disgraced behind Latest Exhibition last time in a modestly-run affair. Big player.
44 stars

6
jockey silks 6. HARRY SENIOR (IRE)
J: Robbie Power
T: Colin Tizzard
6
11-5
Likeable sort who upped his game to land the Classic Novices' Hurdle at this course in January. Should be suited by the step up in trip, so further improvement not ruled out.
33 stars

7
jockey silks 7. HOUSE ISLAND (IRE)
J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Paul Webber
6
11-5
Listed bumper winner who has quickly proved himself useful over hurdles, winning at Ludlow (21f) before creditable efforts in graded company. He lacks the ability to make a big impression, however.
22 stars

8
jockey silks 8. JANIDIL (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
11-5
Has taken off over hurdles since joining this stable and had a bit up his sleeve when landing a Fairyhouse handicap off 135 before Christmas. Significant step up in trip a slight concern.
33 stars

9
jockey silks 9. KILTEALY BRIGGS (IRE)
J: A. P. Heskin
T: Jamie Snowden
6
11-5
Hails from family of Grand National winner Ballabriggs and is already a dual winner over hurdles. More of a chasing prospect for next year and likely to come up short at this level, though.
22 stars

10
jockey silks 10. LATEST EXHIBITION (IRE)
J: B. J. Cooper
T: Paul Nolan, Ireland
7
11-5
Bumper winner who has been most progressive over hurdles and made it 3 from 4 in this sphere when seeing off Cobbler's Way in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown. Big claims if getting the longer trip.
44 stars

11
jockey silks 11. LIEUTENANT ROCCO (IRE)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Colin Tizzard
5
11-5
Point winner who has bolted up on both starts in novice hurdles, again looking a resolute galloper when forging clear at Warwick three weeks ago. Not out of this.
33 stars

12
jockey silks 12. MONKFISH (IRE)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
11-5
Promising ex-pointer who took his form to a new level when readily accounting for a subsequent winner in a novice at Thurles last time. More to come and looks a definite player for top yard.
44 stars

13
jockey silks 13. OSCAR ACADEMY (IRE)
J: Jonathan Moore
T: Gavin Patrick Cromwell, Ireland
7
11-5
Point winner who, having shown little in a couple of bumpers, is unbeaten in two outings over hurdles. Needs a marked step forward to compete at this level, however.
22 stars

14
jockey silks 14. RAMSES DE TEILLEE (FR)
J: Tom Scudamore
T: David Pipe
8
11-5
Very smart staying handicap chaser who has made a good impression back over hurdles the last twice, grinding out another graded success at Haydock last time. Likeable sort who should give his all.
44 stars

15
jockey silks 15. REDFORD ROAD
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
6
11-5
Promising young stayer who was suited by the step up in trip when winning 8-runner Grade 2 here late last year. Slightly disappointing next time but has been freshened up for the Festival.
33 stars

16
jockey silks 16. SEMPO (IRE)
J: J. J. Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
6
11-5
Sixth in Champion Bumper here 12 months ago and has progressed with each of his 3 runs over hurdles, off the mark in 22.5f Thurles maiden latest. More to come, so shouldn't be ruled out.
33 stars

17
jockey silks 17. THE CASHEL MAN (IRE)
J: Jeremiah McGrath
T: Nicky Henderson
8
11-5
Useful Flat winner who has taken well to hurdles. Fine second to Thyme Hill in Grade 1 at Newbury before being awarded (second past the post) a small-field event at Bangor. Needs to pull out more.
22 stars

18
jockey silks 18. THE WOLF (FR)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Olly Murphy
6
11-5
Fairly useful hurdler who got off the mark for this yard in a novice at Newcastle recently but looks out of his depth in this company.
11 stars

19
jockey silks 19. THYME HILL
J: Richard Johnson
T: Philip Hobbs
6
11-5
Third in Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and is unbeaten in 3 runs over hurdles, including the Challow at Newbury last time. Not straightforward but has tons of ability and bred to stay. Big player.
55 stars

Analyst's Verdict

THYME HILL arguably has the best form on show and, given the manner of his success in the Challow last time, probably hasn't reached his limited as a hurdler, so last year's Champion Bumper third is taken to put up another big Festival showing. He faces a formidable Irish challenge from the likes of Latest Exhibition, Monkfish and Fury Road, however.

As per the ‘Novices’ Hurdle’ part of its name, the race is open to any horse that has not won a National Hunt hurdle race prior to the start of the season in which it is competing.

In its fourteen-year history, the Spa Novices’ Hurdle has been won by two five-year-olds, six six-year-olds, five seven-year-olds and one eight-year-old.

Having been added to the Festival schedule with the addition of its fourth day in 2005, the Spa Novices’ Hurdle has a short history in comparison to some of Cheltenham’s hallowed fixtures.

Nonetheless, it has amassed an impressive roster of winners and placed horses in that time, having been upgraded from a Grade 2 to a Grade 1 contest in 2008, following its now eponymous sponsorship deal with the potato growers, Albert Bartlett.

The race’s most well-known victor is undoubtedly 2013 Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth , who won the Spa Novices’ Hurdle in 2011.

He also won the RSA Chase in 2012, making Bobs Worth the first horse since Flyingbolt in the 1960s to win three different Festival races in three consecutive years.

Other notable winners include 2018 Stayer’s Hurdle winner Penhill (2017) and Wichita Lineman (2008) – a smart albeit largely unexceptional horse, best known for being cajoled into an unlikely comeback by Champion Jockey AP McCoy , in a famous winning ride in the 2009 Festival Handicap Chase.

Wichita Lineman’s victory played a part in making both his jockey and trainer the most successful pliers of their respective trades, in the Spa Novices’ Hurdle.

McCoy has won the race on two other occasions – on Black Jack Ketchum in 2006, and on At Fishers Cross in 2013.

Having trained both Wichita Lineman and Black Jack Ketchum, Jonjo O’Neill is the only trainer to have won the race more than once, as of 2018.

Minella Indo provided an even bigger upset than the previous season’s 33/1 winner Kilbricken Storm when winning the 2019 renewal at odds of 50/1.

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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 2020 FAQs

What is the distance of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

2 miles 7 furlongs 213 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

12

What day of the festival is the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

Day 4

What time is the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

14:50

What weights are carried for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

11st 5lb. 7lb allowance for fillies and mares.

What is the purse for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

£125,000 (2020)

Who is the leading jockey in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

AP McCoy

Who is the leading trainer in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

Jonjo O’Neill

Who won the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

You can check out our Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle?

Click the link to visit our Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Odds Comparison page.

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