2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Ante-Post Preview – Eric Can Slay The Field At 16/1

Vanillier landed last years contest for Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell. Will there be an Irish trained winner in 2022?

Vanillier landed last years contest for Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell. Will there be an Irish trained winner in 2022?

2022 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Ante-Post Preview

Our expert has delved through the current state of play in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle betting market, identifying a selection available at odds of 16/1! Check out their thoughts below, and why not also check out our Gold Cup ante-post article


Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Friday 18th March 2022)

The Irish trainers have enjoyed plenty of success in this contest over recent years with trainer Willie Mullins landing the spoils with subsequent Stayers Hurdle winner Penhill in 2017 and the impressive Monkfish who rallied resolutely up the hill to land the 2020 renewal. 

He will be hopeful of going close once more in 2022 with six-year-old Kilcruit who is considered by connections as one of their leading novice prospects for this year. Kilcruit has shown his star potential already in bumpers when gaining revenge on stablemate Sir Gerhard in the Grade 1 Punchestown bumper after losing out to that rival in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at last years Festival. 

Willie Mullins has plenty of options on the table with his charge set to make his hurdling debut soon. Kilcruit certainly could move up in distance this season but it is likely he will ply his trade exclusively over 2miles this campaign.

Trainer Henry De Bromhead landed this race back in 2019 with Minella Indo who subsequently went on to claim Gold Cup glory in last years feature Festival showpiece. 

Connections will be sending another powerful team of novices’ to Prestbury Park in 2022 with the likes of Bob Olinger, Qulixios, and Journey With Me who looks like a smart recruit from the point-to-point field.

The five-year-old was seriously impressive when routing his opposition in a 2m2f bumper at Gowran Park and will certainly appreciate a sterner stamina test in time. The plans remain fluid with Journey With Me but he looks tailor-made for the 3mile contest if continuing to progress when seen over hurdles. 

Gordon Elliot will be looking to register a first win this race and he is responsible for current market leader Hollow Games who has continued to improve since moving up in distance.

After winning two bumpers at Punchestown and Leopardstown, the five-year-old returned over hurdles in October on hurdling debut over 2m6f when easily scoring before taking Grade 3 honours at Navan over 2m4f. 

Hollow Games has winning form on a variety of ground ranging from good to heavy and this former winning 3mile point-to-pointer has already shown the ability to become a leading player in the top staying contests as his career progresses. 

Gavin Cromwell’s Vanillier took last season’s renewal and had previously landed the EBF Maiden Hurdle at Naas over 2m3f and that is exactly what ERIC BLOODAXE achieved this season for trainer Joseph O’Brien. 

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ERIC BLOODAXE 16/1
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The six-year-old finished his race off well to defeat Supreme Jet by 8l and looks another promising stayer in the colours of Gigginstown. It will be interesting to see what distance connections opt to campaign Eric Bloodaxe over as he does have smart bumper form already in the book, including defeating Ferny Hollow at Fairyhouse before finishing in behind the likes of Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard at Punchestown. 

However, his recent hurdle performance has given the impression that he needs a stamina test to be seen to best effect. The Saint des Saints gelding looks one to firmly keep on the right side as he tackles longer trips this season.

It is likely we will see Joseph O’Brien’s runner in the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle over 2m4f at Navan on the 4th December and if he puts in another dour staying performance over that trip then the current odds of 16/1 won’t be around too long for the 3mile Grade 1.

Big Race Verdict

ERIC BLOODAXE – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

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ERIC BLOODAXE 16/1
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