The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, registered as the Spa Novices’ Hurdle, is the second of three Grade 1 contests which take place on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival, and the betting regularly proves to be a lively heat. As such, make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle as the picture becomes clearer.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Tips
Tips for the 2020 Spa Novices’ Hurdle will appear here.
What is the Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
The Spa Novices’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 novice hurdle race, held on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, Gold Cup Day, and run over a distance of just shy of three miles (two miles, seven furlongs and 213 yards). The race has been sponsored by Albert Bartlett since 2008, and for sponsorship reasons is known as the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
The history of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle was introduced in 2005 as part of the move to extend the Cheltenham Festival from three days to four, and began life as a Grade 2 contest, before being upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2008. Winners of the Albert Bartlett regularly go on to become key players in the championship staying hurdle and chase races at future festivals, with the 2011 Spa winner Bobs Worth going on to win the RSA Chase in 2012 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2013.
What happened in the 2019 Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
The Albert Bartlett is no stranger to both large fields and upsets in the betting, and we were treated to both for the 2019 renewal, with the 20-strong field headed by the 4/1 favourite, Commander of Fleet. Gordon Elliott’s charge made a definitive move into contention two hurdles out, though he found 50/1 shot Minella Indo to be too strong a stayer, and he defied his big price to cause an upset for Henry de Bromhead. Minella Indo has since followed up at the Punchestown Festival, and it will be interesting to see where he is campaigned during the 2019/20 season.
Who is the most iconic winner of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
Winners of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle regularly go on to bigger and better things, though the 2011 winner Bobs Worth having proven to be the best of the lot so far, progressing to the very top of National Hunt racing. After winning the Spa, Bobs Worth was sent chasing the following season, and he enjoyed a productive season as a novice, winning the RSA Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival. Bobs Worth would continue to progress the following season, and having won what’s now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, Bobs Worth won the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup in emphatic fashion, defeating Sir Des Champs to score by seven lengths. Bobs Worth was lightly-raced throughout his career, and although he never quite hit the same heights after winning the Gold Cup, he signed off with a memorable swansong, showing plenty of heart to finish a highly creditable third behind Thistlecrack in the 2016 Stayers’ Hurdle.
Are there any trials for the Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
There are several trial race for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, several of which are held at Cheltenham during the season including the Bristol Hurdle in December, and the Classic Hurdle on Trials Day. Other key indicators include the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, and the Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
The most successful jockey in the history of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle is the legendary A.P. McCoy, who has ridden three winners in the race, courtesy of Black Jack Ketchum (2006), Wichita Lineman (2007) and At Fishers Cross (2013).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Spa Novices’ Hurdle?
The most successful trainer in the history of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle is Jonjo O’Neill, who has trained the winner of the race twice, with Black Jack Ketchum (2006) and Wichita Lineman (2007).