The Albert Bartlett is easily the most difficult novice hurdle event to solve at the festival but Carefully Selected could prove the value bet.
CAREFULLY SELECTED – 14-1 with Coral (nrnb). 2.50pm Cheltenham Friday 15th March.
The puzzle that is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle looks almost impossible to solve until running plans become clearer in the run-up to the three mile contest. It is not surprising that bookmakers are going 7-1 the field, and despite not having seen a racecourse so far this season, the Willie Mullins-trained Carefully Selected may prove the value bet of the race at the 14-1 offered by Ladbrokes and Coral, but with the non runner no bet proviso.
The lightly-raced seven-year-old went agonisingly close to winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper 12 months ago, going down by a neck to stablemate Relegate after looking all over the winner inside the final furlong. Although only third on his final start of the season in a Grade 1 at Punchestown the son of Well Chosen almost certainly failed to show his best form, having finished in front of his two conquerors at Prestbury Park. Whether the gelding makes it to Cheltenham is unclear but if anybody can get the horse there in top form it is Willie Mullins and is worth chancing at the 14-1 available with ladbrokes and Coral (nrnb) in their Cheltenham betting odds.
What a run for Carefully Selected in Champion Cheltenham Gr1 Bumper led from flag to be pipped by a neck at finish pic.twitter.com/AdIpkpLzxS— Kedrah House Stud (@kedrah1) March 14, 2018
The duo of Dickie Diver and Birchdale are likely to represent trainer Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus. The former is the shorter price of the pair, a 15-2 chance with Paddy Power (nrnb), following an easy success at Chepstow recently but the latter, 10-1 with William Hill, may prove the better of the two. The son of Jeremy took advantage of the final flight fall of Brewin’upastorm at Cheltenham last time when half a length separated the pair at the last but the five-year-old is crying out for this kind of trip and looks one of the most likely winners.