2020 Albert Bartlett tips – 16/1 and 50/1 tips on day four

A view of the vast field in last year’s Albert Bartlett.

2020 Albert Bartlett tips

We take a look through the betting for the 2020 Albert Bartlett Hurdle and pick out our best bets in the latest of our Cheltenham tips articles.

The second of three Grade Ones on day four at the Cheltenham Festival is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. The traditional prelude to the Gold Cup is a notoriously difficult race for punters. Although great horses like Big Bucks and Witchita Lineman have won this three-miler, the average winning price in the last 10 years is 17/1. We’ve seen two 33/1 winners, and a 50/1 winner in that space of time too.

I’ve taken a look through the list of entries for this year’s renewal, taking a closer look at the most likely runners before coming up with two 2020 Albert Bartlett tips.

Albert Bartlett tips – The Home Challenge

Thyme Hill

Philip Hobbs’ youngster, who finished third in a red-hot Champion Bumper last year, has been the best novice hurdler in Britain this term. All of Thyme Hills’ (5/1 Unibet) victories have come in Graded races; winning the Persian War, the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and the Grade One Challow Hurdle. I think Thyme Hill is too classy for the Albert Bartlett, but Envoi Allen’s presence in the Ballymore may result in Hobbs throwing his star into the three-miler. Personally, I hope he runs in the Ballymore.

Harry Senior

Despite winning the Ballymore Trial on Trials Day, Robbie Power thought Harry Senior (12/1 Ladbrokes) was tailor-made for a test like the Albert Bartlett. Colin Tizzard’s youngster looked a stayer when seeing off King Roland that day and has plenty of progression left in the tank. Three miles is unknown territory though.

Mossy Fen

Looks a big, raw chaser in the making, but has secured some good results over hurdles. Most notably at Warwick, where Mossy Fen (25/1 Ladbrokes) came through late on to pip Décor Irlandais to the post in the Leamington. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge ran a strange race on his Cheltenham debut, labouring over the line fourth in the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle. He has improved since then, but it was still an off-putting performance.

Thyme Hill currently heads the Albert Bartlett betting.

Albert Bartlett tips – The Raiding Party

Monkfish

Lost out to good-quality opponents in Longhouse Poet and Diol Ker on his first couple of starts over hurdles. Monkfish (8/1 Coral) then hacked up by 11-lengths on heavy ground at Fairyhouse, before carrying a penalty to victory by 20-lengths on his next start at Thurles. I can’t wait to see Willie Mullins’ charge jump a fence next season, and he clearly has the talent to win a race of this stature.

Latest Exhibition

Surprised everyone when beating the odds-on favourite, Andy Dufresne in the Navan Hurdle. Latest Exhibition (8/1 William Hill) built on that performance in good style at the Dublin Racing Festival too, outstaying Cobblers Way and Longhouse Poet in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners. Paul Nolan said after Navan that Latest Exhibition was an Albert Bartlett horse. That performance at Leopardstown confirmed those sentiments and he still looks a little overpriced.

Lord Royal

Has been seen just once since arriving at Willie Mullins’ yard from France. Lord Royal (16/1 Ladbrokes) went to post as the 4/5 favourite at Clonmel, and duly bolted up by 33-lengths. Mullins’ charge received an RPR of 145 for that performance. Experience is crucial in the Albert Bartlett though, and I can’t back a horse who’s only had two career starts, none of them coming over three miles. He won’t be one of my 2020 Albert Bartlett tips.

Latest Exhibition (left), Longhouse Poet (centre) and Cobblers Way (right) could all challenge for the Albert Bartlett.

Albert Bartlett tips – Overlooked Outsiders

Longhouse Poet

Has beaten Monkfish and Column Of Fire in maidens this season. Longhouse Poet (16/1 Unibet) has gone on to run twice in Grade Ones since, finishing third to Envoi Allen in the Lawlor’s Of Naas before a narrow defeat at Leopardstown. Martin Brassill’s charge is experienced and has shown great consistency at a high-level. “Overlooked” is the perfect way to describe him.

Cobblers Way

Cobblers Way (16/1 Ladbrokes) made the running in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners, having won from the front at Leopardstown over Christmas. I was expecting Henry De Bromhead’s charge to fade away when he was passed at the last. Yet, Cobblers Way battled back bravely, and even passed Longhouse Poet again in the strides before the line. He looks a promising stayer in the making and could help De Bromhead become just the second trainer to win this race twice on the bounce.

Fury Road

Went into Leopardstown having won two fairly modest Graded races. Gordon Elliott’s charge jumped big throughout that race, and couldn’t hang with the likes of Latest Exhibition as he set off for home. I wouldn’t write Fury Road (16/1 Ladbrokes) off on the back of one poor performance. I can’t see him bouncing back in time for Cheltenham though.

Diol Ker

Like Lord Royal, Diol Ker (16/1 Unibet) has only been out once this season, beating Monkfish in a very competitive maiden. Unlike the aforementioned, Noel Meade’s charge ran three times in point-to-points, once in a bumper behind Envoi Allen and twice in maiden hurdles last season. Diol Ker clearly has plenty of talent. His inactivity this season is a big worry.

Ramses De Teillee

Last year’s Welsh Grand National runner-up has made the most of his novice status over hurdles this season. First, claiming a comfortable success over The Butcher Said at Cheltenham, before outstaying his rivals in the River Don. Ramses De Teillee (25/1 William Hill) could be a sneaky contender. However, David Pipe’s grey is entered in the Grand National Trial at Haydock later this month. I can’t see him running in this Grade One on that back of that gruelling test.

Albert Bartlett tips – Look At Those Odds

Redford Road

Won two of his first three starts in novice hurdles, and both races have produced several winners. Redford Road (33/1 William Hill) was then unfancied going into the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, but produced a fine staying display to beat Champagne Well by half-a-length. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge then struggled under the weight of a penalty over a trip too short for his abilities. A return to three miles looks ideal.

Imperial Alcazar

Shown a good level of consistency this season, winning twice and placing second twice in four starts. Fergal O’Brien’s star lost out by just a head in a Listed contest here at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day, before cruising to victory under a penalty in a novice contest at Uttoxeter. I doubt whether the ground will be soft enough for Imperial Alzacar (33/1 Ladbrokes) on day four, but he could still run beyond his odds.

Champagne Well

A second-season novice, who has placed in seven of his nine starts over hurdles. Champagne Well’s (40/1 Coral) solitary victory came here at Cheltenham back in October, where Fergal O’Brien’s gelding got up to beat Braid Blue over two-and-a-half miles. His two most recent runs have come over three miles, and I don’t think he truly got the trip in either of them. He won’t be one of my 2020 Albert Bartlett tips.

Decor Irlandais

A hugely experienced point-to-pointer, who bolted up on his first couple of starts under rules during the summer. Décor Irlandais (50/1 Ladbrokes) was then beaten under welter burdens in handicaps at Wexford at Cartmel, before running up to an RPR of 145 when carrying a penalty to victory in another novice contest. That performance earned him a crack at the Leamington at Warwick. Mossy Fen came through to win, as Noel Kelly’s charge hung badly left in the closing stages. He’s another who has been severely overlooked.

Kiltealy Briggs

Kiltealy Briggs (66/1 Unibet) has won two novice hurdles on heavy ground this term, the first by 36 lengths. Jamie Snowden’s charge has twice finished behind Redford Road though, and laboured to a half-length victory on his last start when carrying a short price to post. Better options available.

Sempo

Finished a couple of places behind Thyme Hill in last year’s Champion Bumper, and has lost out on both of his starts over hurdles thus far. Sempo (40/1 Ladbrokes) made plenty of mistakes but stayed on to finish third on his first start over obstacles. Joseph O’Brien’s youngster than came from the clouds to place second behind Cobbler’s Way over Christmas. Cheltenham may come too soon, but Sempo is certainly a stayer to follow.

Decor Irlandais jumps a hurdle at Warwick.

Albert Bartlett tips – Verdict

The 15 editions of the Albert Bartlett have been won by 14 different trainers, with an equal split between British and Irish handlers. That, combined the average price of the winners – which, again, is 17/1 – makes the Albert Bartlett an absolute nightmare for tipsters.

A look through the form cards of those horses who have been lucky enough to earn the victory in the race does throw up a few recurring trends in the Cheltenham Festival betting offers though. The majority had been tried at three-miles at least once during the season. Most had run at least four times during their career, with a minimum of one appearance in some form of Graded race.

Thyme Hill is a very classy beast. Monkfish looks an excellent staying chaser in the making and Latest Exhibition has plenty going for him. There is, however, no value at all to be found backing a horse at a single-figure price in the Albert Bartlett and I’m going to look much further afield for both of my selections.

The first of my 2020 Albert Bartlett tips is going to be LONGHOUSE POET, who has placed in two Grade Ones on his last two starts. Jamie Codd’s mount was very keen early in the Nathaniel Lacy and didn’t jump that well, but was still only beaten two lengths by Latest Exhibition.

Longhouse Poet was the impressive winner of a point-to-point last January and should improve with the step up to three miles. We saw what shape Martin Brassill got stablemate, City Island in for the Ballymore last term and there’s plenty more to come from Longhouse Poet.

The second horse I think looks particularly overpriced is DÉCOR IRLANDAIS. Noel Kelly’s charge ran up to RPRs in the mid-90s several times in point-to-points and has run up to a rating of 145 on all four of his most recent runs. Décor Irlandais would surely have won the Leamington last time too, had he not hung left and allowed Mossy Fen through on his outside.

Kelly’s seven-year-old is experienced, battle-hardened and consistent. Décor Irlandais goes really well fresh and decent day four ground will be right up his street. 50/1 in the Cheltenham free bets looks massive!