Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle 2022: Hillcrest and Ginto set to clash


The staying novice hurdler of the season will be crowned on Friday 18th March 2022 when the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle takes place. There is a plethora of interesting types among the 25 confirmations so we at HorseRacing.Net have cast our eyes through the entrants and highlighted the most interesting potential runners... 

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Hillcrest was the big ‘will he, won’t he?’ horse for this year’s Albert Bartlett and the answer is that he WILL take his chance in the three mile novice hurdle! Henry Daly’s gigantic stamp of a horse has won many admirers not just for his imposing frame but also his relentless galloping style, exemplified at Haydock on bad ground when laughing at a rival who had looked a serious threat pre-race in Green Book.

After his unluckily timed injury there is of course no Minella Crooner but the horse who beat him last time out yet was still a bigger price at the time of Crooner’s withdrawal, Minella Cocooner. Most seem to think the finishing effort of Minella Crooner screamed Albert Bartlett last time out at Leopardstown more than the victor’s pacier winning effort, with his late rally up the run-in showcasing his abundant stamina. It seemed curious to see the gap in price between the two, however and Minella Cocooner surely has huge claims.

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Cheltenham Gold Cup

After the Gordon Elliott yard had Minella Crooner ruled out, the trainer has decided to run Grade One winner Ginto in this contest. He has been fiendishly impressive in his starts over obstacles so far and looks the ideal type for an Albert Bartlett. He has not been troubled in two wins at Navan or the Grade One success at Naas and is now the market leader ahead of the aforementioned Hillcrest. 

Ramilles was well fancied for last year’s Champion Bumper yet failed to fire and has not been particularly convincing this campaign but did get a confidence boosting win at Punchestown under his belt and has to be respected for Willie Mullins. Bardenstown Lad has seen solid market support since being flagged up by a couple of shrewd judges on the Cheltenham preview circuit and would be a popular winner for trainer John McDonnell. He looked an out and out stayer on all his starts over obstacles so far so this race should be right up his street.

Ballygrifincottage for the Skelton team is another eye-catching entry and his win on heavy ground at Lingfield over 2m7f was enough to convince many he is the right type of horse for this slog of a test. Good Time Jonny, a leading fancy for the Coral Cup for Tony Martin, has interestingly been supplemented for this race and is certainly one to respect for a canny operation as they would not be one's for throwing money away if they didn't fancy his claims.

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