Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

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The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over three miles at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle is held on the 15th of March 2024.

It is the most gruelling test of stamina for a novice at the meeting and was introduced in 2005 when the meeting was expanded to four days.

Notable previous winners include subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Bobs Worth (2011) and Minella Indo (2019). 2017 winner Penhill went on to win the Stayers’ Hurdle the following season and 2020 winner Monkfish won the 2021 RSA Chase.

Find out about the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle:

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Albert Bartlett Novices – Race Overview

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is taken place on the 4th day of the Cheltenham Festival which is on Friday the 19th of March.

This Grade 1 race is located at the Cheltenham racecourse and is ran a distance of around 3 miles with a total of 12 hurdles to be jumped on the New Course.

This well-known race is the ultimate challenge for the best novice long-distance hurdlers.

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Famous Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Winners

The inaugural running of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle was won by Moulin Riche, trained by Francois Doumen in France. Jonjo O’Neill and Tony McCoy won the next two renewals with Black Jack Ketchum and Wichita Lineman.

Ireland won it for the first time in 2009 with Weapon’s Amnesty who went on to win the RSA Chase. This is a familiar route for Albert Bartlett winners with Nicky Henderson’s Bobs Worth completing the same festival double in 2011-2012. He then completed his graduation by winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2013.

Scotland won the race in 2012 with Brindisi Breeze, trained by Lucinda Russell and ridden by young Campbell Gillies. The horse was sadly killed in a freak roadside crash and Gillies tragically died in an accident while holidaying with friends soon after.

Another lady trainer to strike in this race was Rebecca Curtis in 2013 with At Fishers Cross. The horse progressed from winning a Cheltenham handicap in December to beating The New One in the Classic Novices’ Hurdle. His preference for heavy ground led to massive support in the Albert Bartlett betting when the rain fell at the festival. He was driven out by Tony McCoy to win by four and a half lengths.

Unowhatimeanharry also progressed rapidly through handicaps in 2016, starting his winning sequence with a rating of 123 and winning off a 15lbs higher mark at Exeter. Unowhatimeanharry was purchased by JP McManus before the 2016-17 season and finished third in the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle in 2017.

2017 winner Penhill had been a smart performer on the flat with Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani before joining Willie Mullins. Ruby Walsh elected to ride the stable’s Augusta Kate, leaving Paul Townend to pick up the winning mount at odds of 16-1. There was an even bigger surprise in 2019 when Minella Indo won at 50-1, ridden by Rachael Blackmore. He was runner-up in the RSA Chase the following season before winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2021.

Key Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Trials

One of the best trials for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is the Classic Novice Hurdle on Cheltenham Trials Day. Wichita Lineman, Bobs Worth and At Fishers Cross all won this race before going on to win at the festival meeting.

Other significant trials include the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock and the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. The Mercedes Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel produced the first and third in 2019 with Minella Indo and Allaho, subsequent future stars of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival with victories in the Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase respectively.

Likely future targets for Albert Bartlett winners include the Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree and the Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. At Fishers Cross won the Sefton in 2013. Very Wood, Penhill, Kilbricken Storm and Vanillier were all beaten at Punchestown but Minella Indo did win there in 2020.

What are the betting trends for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
  • About half of all Albert Bartlett winners had won on their previous start before the Cheltenham Festival.
  • Previous winning form at Cheltenham is also a useful pointer but not as much as proven form at the distance.
  • Almost all previous Albert Bartlett winners had at least one previous victory over three miles.
  • Most winners had raced at least three times during the current season with at least one victory.
  • Winners of a Grade 1 to 3 race have fared best and an official rating of 143 or higher is usually required to win the race.
  • The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has sometimes been a bookies’ benefit with plenty of long-priced winners. Berties Dream (2010), Very Wood (2014) and Kilbricken Storm (2018) all stunned the large Cheltenham crowd by winning at 33-1. Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo became the longest-priced winner of the race when winning at 50-1 in 2019.
  • Black Jack Ketchum was a heavily-backed even-money favourite for Jonjo O’Neill and Tony McCoy in 2006. The same combination teamed up successfully with 11-8 favourite Wichita Lineman the following season. Other winning favourites were Bobs Worth (15-8) in 2011 and At Fishers Cross (11-8) in 2013. Monkfish (2019) returned at 5-1, the only winner in single figures in the past eight seasons.
  • Horses aged six have been the most successful group, winning seven of the last eleven renewals.
  • Very Wood became the first five-year-old to win the Albert Bartlett in 2014 while Unowhatimeanharry (2016) is the oldest winner at the age of eight.

Previous Winners of Albert Bartlett Novices

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013At Fishers Cross6Tony McCoyRebecca Curtis
2014Very Wood5Paul CarberryNoel Meade
2015Martello Tower7Adrian HeskinMargaret Mullins
2016Unowhatimeanharry8Noel FehilyHarry Fry
2017Penhill6Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2018Kilbricken Storm7Harry CobdenColin Tizzard
2019Minella Indo6Rachael BlackmoreHenry de Bromhead
2020Monkfish6Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2021Vanillier6Mark WalshGavin Cromwell
2022The Nice Guy7Sean O’KeeffeWillie Mullins
2023Stay Away Fay6Harry CobdenPaul Nicholls

The above is all the past winners.

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Winners of this relatively new contest have been widespread with success for England, Ireland, Scotland and France.

Willie Mullins and Jonjo O’Neill lead the current standings with two winners apiece. The two winners for Mullins have both come in the last five years.

Tony McCoy remains the leading rider in the history of the race with three winners; Black Jack Ketchum (2006), Wichita Lineman (2007) and At Fishers Cross (2013).

Paul Townend has partnered both winners for Willie Mullins, joining Robert Thornton on the two-winner mark.

Betting on the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

The Albert Bartlett has a lively ante-post betting market, despite not being one of the headline races at the festival meeting.

Bookmakers have started offering “non-runner – no bet” on the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle during the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival in recent years.

With an average winning SP of more than 18-1 over the past eight seasons, it is a race to approach with caution.

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle FAQ’s

What distance is the Albert Bartlett?

The distance of the Albert Bartlett is 2 miles 7 furlongs and 213 yards.

What day is the Albert Bartlett?

The Albert Bartlett will take place on Friday the 15th of March 2024.


Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Facts

  • The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
  • It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles, and during its running, there are twelve hurdles to be jumped.
  • The race is for novice hurdlers, and it is scheduled to take place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Summary of The Albert Bartlett Hurdle

A gruelling test for novice hurdlers, the Albert Bartlett has a history of throwing up future-chasing greats.

Jumping and stamina are essential and often the field finds itself well spread out. It has also thrown up long-priced winners.

We hope you have enjoyed our guide and it leads to informed decisions if you are placing a bet.

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