In the latest of GG’s Cheltenham Festival tips and previews, Christopher Loader (@luckyloaders15) takes a look at the main contenders in the Albert Bartlett novice hurdle
The Albert Bartlett also known as the “Potato Race” has been a difficult race to solve for punters over the years. First run in 2005, it has produced some big-priced winners such as last year’s hero, 50/1 shot Minella Indo. Let’s take a look at some of the major players in this year’s race
Thyme Hill heads the market and looks like he will attempt to be the first favourite to win this since At Fishers Cross in 2013.
The son of Kayf Tara is yet to be defeated over hurdles and despite winning at Cheltenham and having already registered a Grade 1 success, I still have reservations about him, particularly with his jumping and the trip.
His Challow Hurdle victory highlighted his jumping errors and he could be vulnerable against hardy stayers. If I owned him, I’d run him in the Ballymore.
The leading Irish contender has to be Latest Exhibition who beat a useful field at the Dublin Racing Festival for Paul Nolan. Those he defeated included of Fury Road and Elixir D’Ainay who had strong form beforehand. The form of his penultimate run, when beating Andy Dufresne at Navan, has also been boosted.
Elsewhere in Ireland, Monkfish has been very impressive for Willie Mullins and looks every inch a class stayer. My only concern for him is his lack of experience in a large field and the course at Cheltenham.
Harry Senior has to top the bill among the British contenders and is my pick for the race at this stage. He was an impressive winner on Festival Trials Day, pulling away from the strong-travelling King Roland after the last.
Trainer Colin Tizzard has stated in interviews that this will be his destination come the Festival and he knows what’s needed to win this race having been successful in 2018 with Kilbricken Storm.
A live outsider in this race is Ramses De Teillee for David Pipe. Some of you might remember he finished second to Elegant Escape in the Welsh National at Chepstow in 2018. This season the grey has been running over hurdles, winning at Cheltenham and then coming out on top in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Trial at Doncaster. If the ground is testing at the festival, he makes plenty of appeal as he should handle a slog and a large field given his experience.
Given the race’s history it often pays to concentrate on bigger-priced runners but at this stage it might be worth siding with Harry Senior each-way. He was impressive at Cheltenham on his last starts and he could a future star in the making.
Chris Loader’s selections
HARRY SENIOR 12/1 CORAL