Grade Two Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle Guide 2022

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Richard Patrick


J: Richard Patrick
T: Henry Daly
Age: 7
Weight: 11-5
OR: 139
Days: 21

A big strong gelding sporting the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, Hillcrest looks to tackle 3 miles for the first time having been successful three times over 2.5 miles.

A winner in a bumper, Hillcrest was then moved up in trip for his debut over hurdles and got off the mark at the first time of asking at Aintree back in November.

The form wasn’t particularly strong but he showed some strong stamina and a good attitude to be headed and come back to beat Our Jet.

He backed that up with a lethal performance at Wetherby which saw him stroll to a 20 length victory despite his penalty. He took yet another step forward after that to make all in a decent listed event over 2.5 miles at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Last seen going off favourite for a Ballymore trail at Cheltenham, he was badly hampered by a faller and unshipped Richard Patrick at the 3rd flight.

His form sets a strong standard and he was well backed to take Grade 2 honours last time out before unseating his jockey. He looks to have plenty of stamina and might just make waves in the Albert Bartlett ante post market with a good performance here.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Aidan Coleman

Green Book

J: Aidan Coleman
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 5
Weight: 11-3
OR: 137
Days: 14

A 5 year old novice trained by Venetia Williams, Green Brook started life on the flat with Brian Ellison before spending a season in France where he failed to win any races.

A beaten favourite on debut for Venetia Williams in a 2 mile maiden hurdle, he then spent the summer on the flat competing in some decent level staying handicaps on the level.Running well at both Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.

This national hunt season, returning as a novice hurdler he’s been in fine form and has improved as he’s stepped up in trip and gained more experience.

Beaten on comeback at short odds, he then won two handicaps in open company before being sent off favourite for the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton. However being hampered at only the second flight saw him unseat his rider and not play a part.

Last seen stepping up to 3 miles for the first time he captured grade 3 honours to win a decent handicap at Sandown and again beat more established rivals in the process.

He’s improving at a rate of knots, is at home on deep ground and proves he stays 3 miles at a stiff track. He should be bang there.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Brian Hughes

High Stakes

J: Brian Hughes
T: Warren Greatrex
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 130
Days: 27

Warren Greatrex and Brian Hughes team up with 8 year old gelding High Stakes. A multiple time winner between the flags saw him get picked up and sent to Willie Mullins’ yard for training. He never ran for Mullins, but was a wide margin winner in a bumper at Wexford.

Moving over to the UK in early winter of last year, High Stakes was sent off favourite for a novice hurdle at Ayr but was denied narrowly over 2.5 miles by Famous Bridge.

Connections clearly think a lot of him, he then went on to contest the Challow Hurdle at Newbury but fell when looking well beaten.

Last seen in a Class 2 novice hurdle over 3 miles on deep ground at Lingfield, he again found one too good and had to settle for 2nd place. Making him still a maiden over timber.

He just got outgunned late in a decent race at Lingfield with the front 2 pulling clear. But he’s still yet to win over hurdles and it would be a surprise to see him notching his first success in a decent looking graded race here.

Despite him looking a decent stayer and being at home in the mud.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Fergus Gillard

Anglers Crag

J: Fergus Gillard
T: David Pipe
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
Days: 17

Only seen once over hurdles for David Pipe, Anglers Crag won a point to point over in Ireland on deep ground before making the switch over to Terence O’Brien to run under rules in Ireland.

A winner of a bumper at Fairyhouse in impressive fashion saw him run a valiant 3rd in a listed race behind Sir Gerhard and Letsbeclearaboutit.

Unable to lie up with Kilcruit at the Dublin Racing Festival he was then beaten again in a deep ground bumper at Limerick to round out the season and his time in Ireland.

Moving over to David Pipe’s yard for a novice hurdling season, he debuted at Leicester at the start of this month and made the perfect start to life over timber to win at the first time of asking.Overturning a 1/3 favourite in the process.

He stayed on well to win over 2.5 miles on soft ground so is well worth a shot at 3 miles. Beating a well touted rival last time makes him well worth a go at this level and he could show the improvement necessary to have a say.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Sean Quinlan

Crystal Glory

J: Sean Quinlan
T: Nicky Richards
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 124
Days: 42

Twice a winner in the Irish point to point scene, Crystal Glory was purchased and brought over to Nicky Richards for training.

Skipping bumpers he was pitched straight into novice hurdles and obliged at the first time of asking.

A winner over 2.5 miles at Hexham back in November, he then managed to back that up over 22 furlongs at Newcastle despite carrying a penalty.

The form doesn’t look particularly strong but he won with plenty in hand despite giving weight away to a good chunk of the field.

Sent off an even money favourite to defy a double penalty at Newcastle on his most recent outing, he failed to reel in a tear away front runner who poached a 19 length lead.

Crystal Glory was the only rival to get remotely close but he just failed to reduce the deficit in time.However he did pull 24 lengths clear of 3rd.

The winner of that race has run well in defeat since boosting the form somewhat and going back up in trip should help Crystal Glory even more.

Clearly talented to defy penalties and go so close last time despite giving heaps of weight away to the winner, it remains to be seen if he’s of the quality to make the transition into graded company. Heavy ground is also an unknown.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Stephen Mulqueen


J: Stephen Mulqueen
T: Lucinda Russell
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 114
Days: 43

At the foot of the betting is 6 year old Readysteadybeau for Lucinda Russell. Beaten in both of his bumper starts last season he was put away for the summer to return as a novice hurdler for this campaign.

Starting life over 2 miles, he found the trip far too short but ran well to be 2nd. Moved up in trip for his next start at Ayr saw him beaten again. But he did stay on well late and looked as if going further would suit.

Getting off the mark at the third time of asking when tackling 3 miles for the first time, he won a maiden event here at Haydock. The 2nd franking the form since winning a maiden at Uttoxeter.

It’s not the deepest form however and the gelding has since been beaten in handicap company off a mark of 107 on heavy ground at Wetherby.

Coming here with a rating of 114 gives him plenty to find on official figures and being unable to defy a low enough looking mark to justify odds on favouritism last time out would make him one to avoid.

Haydock - February 19 2022
Haydock 15:50
Stan Sheppard


J: Stan Sheppard
T: Tom Lacey
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 131
Days: 35

Another point to point recruit, this time for Tom Lacey, Scipion failed to win in his two outings between the flags in the pointing sphere but on his last start did post a decent looking 2nd to recent Dublin Racing Festival winner Minella Crooner.

Snapped up and sent for training over in the UK he was beaten on hurdling debut at Leicester in a novice event behind Jetoile.

That rival then went on to be 2nd in the Tolworth to Supreme favourite Constitution Hill. Again connections thinking they had a decent one on their hands with how his form had worked out pitched him into a grade 2 at Warwick on his next start where he ran well for 3rd.

He looked a little outpaced behind Stag Horn in the Leamington Hurdle but was keeping on well for pressure late on.

Another who’s still a maiden under rules, he did run well enough in a Grade 2 last time out and shaped like going further would bring about more improvement if he can handle the testing underfoot conditions.