Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Odds: Hillcrest the new favourite after Crooner ruled out

Hillcrest is the new favourite for the Albert Bartlett
Hillcrest is the new favourite for the Albert Bartlett

Henry Daly's Hillcrest is the new ante-post favourite for the 2022 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle after it was announced previous market leader Minella Crooner will miss the Grade 1 event on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival on March 18...

Gordon Elliott's Minella Crooner had been heavily supported for the 3m contest following his fine second placed finish in the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy Novices' Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, but it was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the classy six-year-old had picked up a muscle injury during a workout, and the Cullentra House team have been forced to rule him out of Cheltenham.

Minella Crooner was unable to get the better of the Willie Mullins-trained Minella Cocooner in that aforementioned Leopardstown contest, and the latter of that similarly named duo has been duly cut in the betting for the Albert Bartlett, but it's now the Henry Daly-trained Hillcrest that is the current market leader about 3/1, at the time of writing. An eight-length winner of a Grade 2 event at Haydock Park last time out, Hillcrest has shaped like a really top classy staying novice hurdler, but he will have a host of notable rivals taking him on in what should be a thrilling betting heat.

Elliott maybe without Minella Crooner, but he could potentially unleash a strong contender in the event on Cheltenham Gold Cup day, and Ginto has been slashed into 9/2 second favourite for the Elliott team. However, Ginto is a similar price for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on day two of the meeting, so it shall be interesting to see what the Cullentra House handler does with Ginto now.

Others that catch the eye in the latest betting include Henry De Bromhead's unbeaten Journey With Me (7/1) and his stablemate Shantreusse (8/1), while the unbeaten The Nice Guy could be another notable contender for the aforementioned Mullins (8/1), with Bardenstown Lad (9/1) another available at single figured odds in the revised market.

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