ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is the longest novice hurdle run at the Festival.

Introduced in 2005 when a fourth day was added to the Cheltenham Festival schedule, it is registered as the Spa Novices' Hurdle.

Grade 1 | 4yo+ novices | Friday 14.50
3 miles | 12 hurdles | New course
Weight: 10st 7lb (4yo) / 11st 8lb (5yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for fillies & mares
Prize money (2022): £135,000 | 1st: £78,680

The race has certainly been a stepping stone for future stars, including Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Bobs Worth and Minello Indo.

Additionally, the Stayers' Hurdle winners in 2018, 2019 & 2020 had all competed in this race the year beforehand.

That includes Penhill, who did the double.

7 of the last 9 winners were Irish trained
10 of the last 13 winners were rated 140+
8 of the last 9 winners were sent off at double figure odds
4/18 favourites won (0 of the last 9)
Updated to include 2022 renewal

The Nice Guy & Minella Indo had yet to receive an official handicap mark when winning this race, having not run three times over hurdles.

But 10 of the other 11 Albert Bartlett Hurdle winners since 2010 were rated at least 140, with four of those rated 150+.

It has certainly not been a good race for favourite backers of late, with At Fishers Cross the last to oblige back in 2013.

Beaten favourites in that period include Briar Hill (2/1), Black Hercules (5/2), Death Duty (13/8) and Santini (11/4) and Hillcrest (9/4).

Meanwhile, there have been three 33/1 winners plus the aforementioned Minella Indo at a whopping 50/1, all since 2010.

The Grade 2 Land Rover Novice Hurdle at Limerick over Xmas has proven a key trial.

Martello Tower landed it a year before he won this and Penhill also won both, while Fury Road almost did the same in 2020.

Then, in 2021, Vanillier was runner-up in the Limerick race before hosing up in this.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
7
11-8
2021
6
144
11-5
2020
6
152
11-5
2019
6
11-5
2018
7
143
11-5

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
The Nice Guy
Sean O'Keeffe / Willie Mullins
18/1
2021
Vanillier
Mark Walsh / Gavin Cromwell
14/1
2020
Monkfish
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
5/1
2019
Minella Indo
Rachael Blackmore / Henry De Bromhead
50/1
2018
Kilbricken Storm
Harry Cobden / Colin Tizzard
33/1
2017
Penhill
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
16/1
2016
Unowhatimeanharry
Noel Fehily / Harry Fry
11/1
2015
Martello Tower
Adrian Heskin / Margaret Mullins
14/1
2014
Very Wood
Paul Carberry / Noel Meade
33/1
2013
At Fishers Cross
Tony McCoy / Rebecca Curtis
11/8f
2012
Brindisi Breeze
Campbell Gillies / Lucinda Russell
7/1
2011
Bobs Worth
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
15/8f
2010
Berties Dream
Andrew Lynch / Paul John Gilligan
33/1
2009
Weapon's Amnesty
Davy Russell / Charles Byrnes
8/1
2008
Nenuphar Collonges
Robert Thornton / Alan King
9/1
2007
Wichita Lineman
Tony McCoy / Jonjo O'Neill
11/8f
2006
Black Jack Ketchum
Tony McCoy / Jonjo O'Neill
Evensf
2005
Moulin Riche
Robert Thornton / François Doumen
9/1

The 2021 winner was Vanillier, ridden by Mark Walsh for trainer Gavin Cromwell:

‘I’M NOT SURPRISED HE’S WON, BUT I AM SURPRISED BY THE MANNER HE’S DONE IT IN’

Monkfish won a thrilling renewal 'by a nostril' in 2020 for owner Rich Ricci.

Four horses fought it out on the run-in, with the winner rallying having been overtaken:

‘WE BOUGHT HIM AS A GOLD CUP HORSE. FINGERS CROSSED HE STAYS HEALTHY AND HE CAN GROW INTO ONE’

In 2019 Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 hurdle at the Festival aboard Minello Indo.

Despite being a maiden, trainer Henry de Bromhead was shocked at the odds of his future Gold Cup star:

‘I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHY WE WERE 50/1. IT WAS MAD’

Kilbricken Storm was another big-priced winner at 33/1 in 2018 and a first Festival success for young jockey Harry Cobden.

Purchased for just £22,000 by trainer Colin Tizzard the year before, he collected a first prize of £77,600:

‘THE BEAUTY OF NATIONAL HUNT RACING IS YOU CAN PICK UP THESE HORSES FOR AROUND £20,000 AND WIN THE BIGGEST STAYING NOVICE HURDLE OF THE SEASON’

Penhill came from off way the pace in 2017, in the blue and white colours of his owner Tony Bloom - the chairman of Brighton FC.

A successful recruit from the flat for Willie Mullins, he would go on to win the Stayers' Hurdle a year later.

And it was a quick-fire double for jockey Paul Townend, having won the previous race on the card, with Bloom joking:

‘I WAS SLIGHTLY CONCERNED THAT PAUL MIGHT BE HAVING A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE OR TWO BEFORE JUMPING ON’

Unowhatimeanharry vindicated trainer Harry Fry's decision to go for Grade 1 glory when landing a hard-fought victory in 2016, in the colours of his members racing club.

Originally targeted at the Pertemps Final, four successive wins saw him rise so much in the handicap that Fry opted to switch:

‘WE BOUGHT HIM LAST SUMMER THINKING HE HAD THE RIGHT PROFILE FOR A CLUB HORSE. HE WAS A MAIDEN, SO HE GAVE US LOTS OF OPTIONS’