Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) Guide

Admiral Barratry

Trainer – Lucy Wadham

Jockey – Leighton Aspell

A horse that likes to stay at the rear of the field and progress later on which seems to work and suit for Lucy Wadham. The last win coming at Huntingdon on Boxing Day last year over a shorter distance than today of 2m 4f. There’s also hints of further power with two places at Kempton and Newbury on both firm and softer grounds. A handy horse in good form even in larger fields and with Leighton Aspell should be a professional ride and one to watch even in any changes to the market.

Ask Ben

Trainer – Graeme McPherson

Jockey – Kielan Woods

Form only shows two recent races and two victories from Ayr and Newcastle both under the same jockey for today Kielan Woods. Likes to head up to the front of the field even in the 3m victory at Ayr last time out in January. Whereas a December surprise when winning at 50/1 at Newcastle upped Ask Ben’s potential and saw fit to come out again on top when favourite last time out on soft ground.

Geordie B

Trainer – Venetia Williams

Jockey – Aidan Coleman

Will like to stay in mid-division for this longer 3m trip around this Haydock track with wins at similar distances it won’t be an issue under Aidan Coleman with this horses great form for Venetia Williams. A disappointing sixth at Ascot in November can be forgiven when only an outside chance and this field looks much better suited to it also. A great win at Lincoln in a large field when 11/4 last time out in January provided a return to winning ways also under Aidan Coleman and this weight also looks preferable for another good ride.

Highland Hunter

Trainer – Lucinda Russell

Jockey – Derek Fox

Two recent wins at Hexham and Ayr both over 2m 4f will need to perform over the longer distance which wasn’t much of an issue over this C&D last time out in January last month when third on Gd/Sft ground. Derek Fox is on board again after that place for Lucinda Russell and will hope to continue the impressive form. All highly rated and Highland Hunter is up there.

Kateson

Trainer – Tom Lacey

Jockey – Tom Scudamore

Among the favourites and strongest contenders but a step up in trip is untested under Tom Scudamore but given the form for Tom Lacey, should still lead the pack around Haydock just like at Newbury the last two races over a similar distance. An impressive second at Aintree in a bigger field of 20 indicates the staying power but at 2m1f it still begs the question if it will really suit going up in trip but it certainly indicates that it will be close. Successes over soft to heavy ground also shows the ability to head up the field and proven on varying ground and distances gives hope for Kateson to race over any course.

Lisnagar Oscar

Trainer – Rebecca Curtis

Jockey – Sean Bowen

Another with great form for this Irish horse, under Sean Bowen for the second time after that winner at Chepstow last month in a large field when favourite (15/8). Proven over this distance as well when a close second at Cheltenham back in December and stepped up in weight for those places. Will stay towards the back of the field for this one if the pace previously is anything to go by and will need to finish a bit stronger than previous times as under J McGrath had trouble with finishing first for a short period of time. Looks a great test before heading to Cheltenham again in March for the potential Grade 1 hike.

Rockpoint

Trainer – Colin Tizzard

Jockey – David Noonan

Most likely an outside chance but still in contention given previous form usually under Tom Scudamore but David Noonan takes the reins for the first time and will hope to see the same form under the last win at Cheltenham in December, over the same distance. A disappointing fourth place last month at 12/1 though, was a bigger ask than this and up in the weights could suggest why the struggle for Colin Tizzard's chance, will like to join the front runners round Haydock if given the chance. Seems to also prefer the longer distances as a test of fitness so should suit this trip more than others.

Star of Lanka

Trainer – Warren Greatrex

Jockey – Gavin Sheehan

Under Gavin Sheehan again and has seen success when favourite last time out at Hertford but the last trip at Kempton when a wider shot at 9/1 when fourth but is suited to large fields and sees off competition over shorter distances. This longer distance and a smaller field might suit for Warren Greatrex, will like to track the front runners and proven on varying ground this trip should suit but it’s still not sure how Star of Lanka will perform over the longer trip.

Stoney Mountain

Trainer – Henry Daly

Jockey – Andrew Tinkler

Among the horses that will rear up the field under Andrew Tinkler again, riding again for the first time since Ascot in November, but a second in between two victories at Aintree and Southwell (7/2 and 1/3f). Another close place at Warwick over similar distance so this trip should suit under another potential favourite given the current form and ability over the longer 3m distance. But with places rather than wins over longer distances it could prove costly but given the form and this field Stoney Mountain is definitely the biggest contender for this novices hurdle.

Truckin Away

Trainer – Philip Hobbs

Jockey – Tom O’Brien

Another runner that will prefer to head up the field over this longer distance as its unproven for many how they will fare on a longer distance but a fall at Sandown and a third at Chepstow means this horses form out favours to the rest but still has plenty of potential if jumping better and can replicate the win a Ffos Las over heavy ground when an outside shot at 14/1 under Michael Nolan that time, in November. All races have been 2m3/4f so far and a third at Chepstow last time proves the fall was out of character and unfortunate when favourite at Sandown. The third also came when 9lb heavier so should go well in this trip under Tom O’Brien for the first time and a contender that will need to stay on from the front and continue to challenge its stamina toward the end.

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