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Wholestone The Pick In Albert Bartlett Ante-Post Market

Friday 10th February 2017

Our Cheltenham Festival countdown is ramping up a notch and with that in mind, the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is the next race under our ante-post microscope. Our very own Richard Smith (@Rich94) dissects the Grade 1 contest...

Since its introduction in 2005, the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle has provided the stage for some very familiar names in recent Cheltenham Festival history; they include - Wichita Lineman, Weapon's Amnesty, Bobs Worth and At Fishers Cross, with last year's winner, Unowhatimeanharry, a lively contender to add to that roll of honour at this year's meeting, in the Stayers' Hurdle.

Looking to join that illustrious list in 2017 are a host of runners who have shown plenty of promise in their short careers, to date. The consensus pick amongst bookmakers to be the winner is Death Duty, who has fast gained the reputation as being one of the most promising youngsters currently on the National Hunt scene.

The Gordon Elliott trained six-year-old made his hurdles debut in October and has subsequently won four on the bounce, the most recent of which was a nine length victory in the Grade One, Lawlor's Hotel Novice Hurdle, at Naas, last month.

The form of Death Duty makes him the clear pick of the current Albert Bartlett entries and with plenty more improvement seemingly in the tank, it is hard to overlook his chances, but at a best price of 5/2, it may pay to look elsewhere if you like a bit more value in your Cheltenham selections given the wealth of other unexposed runners in the race.

One interesting contender that has been subject to some support in the market in the past couple of weeks is West Approach, who has yet to win in five starts this season, but his three length third behind Stayers' Hurdle favourite, Unowhatimeanharry, on Trials Day, saw the 25/1 to win this race evaporate, with 7/1 now the best price available.

The Colin Tizzard trained seven-year-old has risen in the official ratings over the past 12 months, despite just the one win to his name and whilst he continues to make his presence felt, it could be that he will always find one or two rivals too good and is 0 from 7 at Cheltenham.

The Albert Bartlett is one of the few races at the Festival that eludes Willie Mullins, however, Augusta Kate could be the one to end that wait, next month. The mare was going really well in the race that Death Duty won at Naas, before falling at the last and whilst there's no guarantee she would have got the better of the odds-on favourite, it was eye-catching enough to think she would have a chance if they meet again.

As such, at four times the price, the 12/1 available could represent value in the market, particularly to each-way backers.

Wholestone, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, is the other notable name at the head of the betting, who has risen to prominence after three wins from four runs at Cheltenham, this season. He started the season with victory over West Approach at the October meeting, before back-to-back wins at the International Meeting in December and Trials Day, last month.

Sandwiched in-between those three wins was a second behind Peregrine Run at the Open Meeting, where a couple of errors cost him but he still managed to finish ahead of West Approach.

Like West Approach, Wholestone is a 7/1 chance to win the Albert Bartlett and is preferred given the form between the two. With more improvement likely to come and his proven love of Prestbury Park, the six-year-old represents the pick of those that the bookmakers rank the most likely winners.

Albert Bartlett Ante-Post Advice

Wholestone each-way @7/1 with Paddy Power

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Betting - Click To Bet

Tornado Flyer 20/1
Blackbow 20/1
Carefully Selected 20/1
Commander Of Fleet J W Kennedy / G Elliott 20/1
Acey Milan 33/1
Each Way Terms 3

4. Commander Of Fleet J W Kennedy / G Elliott
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 15:31 . Odds are subject to change.
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