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Cheltenham Festival Albert Bartlett tips: Captain Teague to lead the way, Chigorin could defy odds

Popularly known as the “Spud Race” after its sponsor, the Albert Bartlett rarely fails to provide a thrilling race that will serve as a perfect warm-up act before Gold Cup stars take centre stage.

14:50 - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (3 miles)

Willie Mullins runners are out in force again here, accounting for more than a third of the 14-strong field and most have them hold seriously claims, especially Readin Johnny Wrong, who has won all four of his races to date (two bumpers and two over hurdles), and looks an even stronger prospect now teaming up with Paul Townend for the first time.

Planet Sport Bet: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Readin Tommy Wrong wins by more than 3 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet!

It must have been a tough decision for Townend, who had also ridden unbeaten High Class Hero to four of his five wins, so only time will tell if he has made the right call, or if he will see Patrick Mullins disappearing ironically into the distance up the Cheltenham hill.

It would be no surprise if the Closutton yard dominates the frame finishers, but we’re going to lean towards a couple of hurdlers well capable of splitting them up and maybe even edging their noses in front.

It hasn’t been a memorable Cheltenham week so far for Harry Cobden, whose 11 rides have seen him fall twice, pull up twice, and finish runner-up twice, with the only real bright spot coming from unexpected quarters whenMonmiral defied his 25/1 price tag to land the Pertemps Final on Thursday.

His two rides on Friday culminate with a Gold Cup chance on Bravemansgame, but arguably a better prospect is Captain Teague in this hurdling stamina test.

WATCH: Harry Cobden previews his two remaining rides on Gold Cup Day

Third in last year’s Champion Bumper, Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old impressed with a nine-length win on hurdle debut at Chepstow in October, and although finding one too good at Cheltenham’s November meeting, he signed off 2023 with another stylish win in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury in his first taste of Grade 1 company.

This represents another step up, both in distance and quality of opposition, but Captain Teague has been campaigned for this and turns up fresh from a 76-day break with high hopes of making his presence felt in a race of this type where his stamina could prove a telling factor. 

Suggested bet: Captain Teague each-way in the 14:50 at Cheltenham

 

For anyone seeking a little extra each-way value, then two wins, four runner-up spots and a third represents a good return from a dozen attempts for Rachael Blackmore’s partnership with Henry De Bromhead this week, and they will be quietly hopeful that Chigorin can add to those impressive figures.

Third on debut at Naas in November, this six-year-old made light of being asked to step up in trip in heavy ground at Fairyhouse a month later, seeing off seven rivals with plenty in hand.

Returning refreshed from a three-month break with this race in mind, Chigorin is in the good hands of an in-form team and should be in great shape to be in contention at the end of this stamina test.

Suggested bet: Chigorin each-way in the 14:50 at Cheltenham

 

Albert Bartlett key stats

Top 4 trainers (last 20 years)

  • Willie Mullins - 47 runners, 3 winners and 6 places
  • Jonjo O'Neill - 2 runners with 2 winners
  • Nicky Henderson - 18 runners, with 1 winner and 3 places
  • Paul Nicholls - 13 runners, 1 winner and 3 places

Top 3 jockeys (last 20 years)

  • Paul Townend - 12 rides, 2 winners and 1 place
  • Harry Cobden - 4 rides with 2 winners
  • Adrian Heskin - 8 rides with 1 winner

Past 5 winners of the Albert Bartlett

  • 2019 Minella Indo 50/1
  • 2020 Monkfish 5/1
  • 2021 Vanillier 14/1
  • 2022 The Nice Guy 18/1
  • 2023 Stay Away Fay 18/1

Britain v Ireland

  • Britain - 9 winners, 18 places from 217 runners
  • Ireland - 9 winners, 20 places from 125 runners

READ MORE: Cheltenham Festival ITV racing tips: Best bets for Day Four on Thursday March 15

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