Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Trends

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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Trends 2022

The final Grade 1 hurdle for the novices to contend, the Spa Novices’ hurdle lends itself to the battle hardened and gritty stayers of the division.

The race is aimed at four year olds and over, the three mile trip tests horses for their ability to grind through an attritional test.

Last year saw a shock winner in Vanillier power up the hill by 11 lengths, with 40/1 and 10/1 shots behind him, showing that this race throws out some value.

It creates some brilliant novice chasers and established staying hurdlers, the trends and stats below hopefully point to the next superstar.

Stat One

First of all, age is a perfect place to start when beginning to build your winning profile.

12 of the last 14 winners of the Spa Novices’ Hurdle were aged six or seven years old.

2016 winner Unowhatimeanharry, and 2014 winner Very Wood are the only two not to fall into this, being aged eight and five respectively.

For the most part it’s better to focus on those in the highlighted bracket.

Green Book, Haxo and Henn See are all only only five years old which makes him unappealing in the trends.

Stat Two

With this being a Grade One race, class must come to the forefront.

14 of the last 15 winners had been rated 135 or more. The only exception being Minella Indo who was unrated, only having his second start in the Albert Bartlett.

To further narrow the field down, 11 of the last 15 winners were rated 140 or more.

Pay attention to runners who have shown themselves well and earned a strong official rating from the handicapper. Class tells here.

Stat Three

Having form coming into the festival is highly important here. 11 of the last 15 winners placed first or second on their prep run for Cheltenham.

Six of the previous 11 winners won in their prep run.

10 of the last 11 winners were placed third or better in their prep run.

Try and keep the focus on those winning or at least coming second. Winners tend to have shown their hand before running here.

However, Vanillier is the exception to these stats, running a stinker ahead of Cheltenham but getting back to form at the meeting.

Stat Four

With this being a real attritional test of stamina and fortitude, not having too long or hard a season is important.

13 of the last 15 winners had four or fewer runs that season. Not being bottomed out by too many runs before the festival is key to performing well here.

Vanillier had four runs over hurdles before the festival, he’d gained experience but hadn’t been drained with doing too much through the winter before the important spring races.

Stat Five

Distance form is imperative. This is about stamina and a big part of your profile when picking a runner should revolve around this.

12 of the last 13 winners had at least one run over 23-25 furlongs.

11 of the last 13 winners had at least one win over 23-25 furlongs.

Being proven over the trip and having a win at the distance is important.

Pay attention to those who have proved themselves at three miles. Don’t make assumptions over their stamina and ability to see out the trip.

This leaves a few in the field vulnerable with Ginto, Journey With Me and Whatdeawant all not running over further than 2m4f.

Stat Six

A trend that might seem obvious but needs to be included, 11 of the last 15 winners had won two races that season.

The important part of this is two wins. They have proven to have ability and fortitude in more than one race.

Backing up a win is important as it confirms ability. Keep those onside who have notched up multiple wins. Be very wary of maidens or those who have only won once.

Minella Indo and Vanillier were shock winners of this race, but the stats speak for themselves that those who have visited the winners’ enclosure on multiple occasions do better in this race.

Stat Seven

Finally, being proven in graded races is normally a key trend here, but not of late with only Eight of the last 13 winners having won in a Grade 1, 2 or 3 race before lining up at Cheltenham.

Minella Indo, Monkfish and Vanillier had all never won at black type level before heading into the Albert Bartlett, leaving the thought that horses can improve massively in this race.

Being an established graded horse takes away the question mark as to whether a runner is good enough to take their place here.

But it has not always been the case.

Value Angle

The value in this field comes from Shantreusse for Henry De Bromhead who won this event with Minella Indo and could do with this gelding who has improved massively for the move up to three miles.

Handling both heavy and good ground makes him versatile and with no stamina doubts over the trip, also fitting the age, rating and amount of runs in the season trend, he looks a big each way player in a very open renewal of the race.

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