Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Ante-Post Betting Odds

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Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Ante-Post : Value to be found in competitive renewal

This season’s renewal of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle looks ultra-competitive at 5/1 the field.

At time of writing, Henry de Bromhead’s exciting Hiddenvalley Lake heads the betting, alongside Embassy Gardens for Willie Mullins, for the 3m contest that’s staged on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival.

The former is unbeaten under rules having followed up a maiden success with a mightily impressive G3 triumph at Cork in December last year – the form of which was given a fair boost at the Dublin Racing Festival when Cool Survivor, who was eight lengths behind Hiddenvalley Lake that day, was a solid fourth in G1 company.

Embassy Gardens was unsuccessful at his first two attempts over flights, but was an emphatic 35L winner of a novice hurdle at Thurles in late January. He very much falls into the ‘could be anything’ bracket too.

One I like a lot for this race is Gordon Elliott’s Three Card Brag, who can be backed at 7/1 with Betfred.

There is, I suppose, a slight question mark about whether he could go for a handicap in March, but connections seem intent on heading for the Albert Bartlett, and I think that three-mile trip is right up his street.

He brings solid Graded form to the table amongst some of the better novice hurdlers in training, and I thought his 12L hammering of a well-regarded horse of Willie Mullins last time out was a huge performance.

At 8/1 is Corbetts Cross for Emmet Mullins, while we have four priced at 10/1 – namely Absolute Notions, Hermes Allen, American Mike and Sandor Clegane.

Hermes Allen is almost certainly Ballymore-bound, so he cannot be advised, but the other three are all of interest – especially American Mike, who could well bounce back from a disappointing performance last time out when he wasn’t quite right.

Of those at greater odds, few capture the imagination like Favori De Champdou at 14/1.

He looks overpriced for a Grade Two winner who’s proven at the trip and is trained by Gordon Elliott. I’d say that, at this stage, he’s the each-way play.

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