14:30 Cheltenham – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
The highlight of Saturday’s racecard comes by way of the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, also known as the Bristol Novices Hurdle, a Grade 2 race contested over three miles. In recent years it has been won by some high-class hurdlers such as Blaklion, Unowhatimeanharry and Wholestone and last season’s winner Kilbricken Storm went on to win the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Festival.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this race 4 times since it became a Grade 2 contest but has been struggling for winners in recent weeks and his runner Rocco was well beaten last time out. He does have a win over three miles when racing in point-to-points but his only win under rules came over two miles and in truth would have to step up on what we have seen so far if he is to add to his trainers’ impressive tally in this race.
Doux Pretender has won his last two, asserting close home to get up by a head last time out, beating Stoney Mountain who had previously beat Aye Aye Charlie. On that evidence he should have the measure of Fergal O’Brien’s runner, who incidentally doesn’t have the best of records at Cheltenham, and this step up in trip promises to eke out further improvement. For me he deserves his place at the head of the market and is the one they all have to beat.
That said, I was quite taken with Danny Whizzbang on hurdles debut, getting off the mark at the first time of asking, travelling well and staying on strongly to hold off the challenge of a promising Warren Greatrex runner. He won a decent point-to-point before moving to Paul Nicholls and his Hereford victory confirmed he has no stamina issues so, although he may lack the experience of some of his rivals, he should be more than capable of taking the step up in grade and grab at least a place here.
Danny Whizzbang (E/W)
Cheltenham 13:55 – Baron Alco (WIN)
Doncaster 14:10 – Irish Roe (WIN) – NAP
Cheltenham 14:30 – Danny Whizzbang (E/W)
Doncaster 14:45 – Cracker Factory (WIN)
Cheltenham 15:05 – We Have A Dream (WIN)
Doncaster 15:20 – Go Conquer (WIN)
Cheltenham 15:40 – Definitelyanoscar (WIN)