• Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (The Spa)

    13 of the 19 had been 1st or 2nd last time out in Graded Class

    Only The Nice Guy and Monkfish of the 19 had yet to be placed in a Graded hurdle

    Eight winners of the G2 late January 2m 5f course trial have run. Three won, two placed

    16 of the last 18 were six or seven years of age

    Ten of the last 13 had placed hurdle form over at least 2m 7f.

    11 of the last 12 favs no graded hurdle placed form over at least 2m 7f. All 11 beat.

    Vanillier only FRE Bred winner in last 15

    Irish Trained have taken seven of the last 10

    17 of the 19 top three finish last time out

    Seven of the 19 were course winners. 10 others had never been before

    10 from the last 14 already BHA rated 140+

    Only three of the 19 with less than three runs over hurdles

    None of the last 16 ran in either the Cheltenham or Aintree bumpers

    No winning favourite since 2013, nine of last 10 priced 10/1 plus.

    G Elliott yet to win


    Race Distance - about 3 miles. Up to 2015 all carried 11-7. Since then, 11-5.


    Going 19 years. Winner to be 6 or 7 years old. Has won hurdle race over at least 2m 3f. Likely to be Irish Trained. If not Irish look at January course form/River Don. May not have already run over 3 miles. At least 3 runs over hurdles, Graded place last time out or WP Mulllins. 1st or 2nd last time out in Graded Class, ran in Challow Hurdle or WPM. p2p winner and hasn't come from the Flat. Course winner if given the chance. IRE or BR Bred. Favourite becoming due. If fav has no Graded place previous over 3 miles, then lay. Not beaten favourite last time unless was placed in a Graded shorter trip. Rated 140+, if rated. Didn't run in 2023 Champion Bumper.

  • Honours Board

    Year ||| Form ||| Winner ||| Age ||| OR ||| SP ||| Trainer ||| Jockey ||| Last race (No of days)

    2023 ||| 12 ||| Stay Away Fay ||| 6 ||| 136 ||| 18/1 ||| P Nicholls ||| H Cobden ||| 2nd G2 Donc 3m (48)

    2022 ||| 111 ||| The Nice Guy ||| 7 ||| - ||| 18/1 ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| S O'Keefe ||| 1st Naas Maiden Hrdle (47)

    2021 ||| 2120 ||| Vanillier ||| 6 ||| 144 ||| 14/1 ||| G Cromwell (IRE) ||| M Walsh ||| Unpl G1 Leop 2m 6f (41)

    2020 ||| 2211 ||| Monkfish ||| 6 |||152 ||| 5/1 ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| P Townend ||| 1st Thurles Nov Hdle 2m 6f (54)

    2019 ||| 32 ||| Minella Indo ||| 6 ||| - ||| 50/1 ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 1st G3 Clonmel Nov Hdle (28)

    2018 ||| 3113 ||| Kilbricken Storm ||| 7 ||| 143 ||| 33/1 ||| C Tizzard ||| H Cobden ||| 3rd G1 Newbury Challow Hdle 2m 5f (77)

    2017 ||| 611141 ||| Penhill ||| 6 ||| 143 ||| 16/1 ||| W Mullins (IRE) ||| P Townend ||| 1st G2 Limerick Nov Hdle (78)

    2016 ||| 1111 ||| Unowhatimeanharry ||| 8 ||| 152 ||| 11/1 ||| H Fry ||| N Fehily ||| 1st Exeter Pertemps H'cap Hdle (33)

    2015 ||| 1F12 ||| Martello Tower ||| 7 ||| 140 ||| 14/1 ||| M Mullins (IRE) ||| A Heskin ||| 2nd G2 Leop Nov Hdle 2m 4f (47)

    2014 ||| 1253 ||| Very Wood ||| 5 ||| 137 ||| 33/1 ||| N Meade (IRE) ||| P Carberry ||| G2 Naas Nov Hdle 2m 4f (68)

  • Evidence




    2023 - P Nicholls produces Stay Away Fay to repel the Irish. They finished 2-3-4-5 and Corbetts Cross 9/4 fav would have been involved if not for running out at the last. Affordale Fury in second, a rare NH success story for Noel Meade. Three Card Brag 4/1 second fav 5th. Stay Away Fay came from the River Don at Doncaster. Good ride by H Cobden, a fine jockey. Irish trained 13 of the 20 runners.


    2022 - The only horse mentioned by Assistant Trainer David Casey for this at the Harcourt Hotel Dublin 2 Chelt Preview was The Nice Guy. Did I pay any heed? Did I heck. 18/1 Cosy as you like. Came from a Naas Maiden Hurdle over 2m 3f. A 1-2-3 for Irish trained. 11 of the 16 runners. John McConnell placed again. A first Festival success for Sean O'Keefe.


    2021 - An Irish 1-3-4. Gavin Cromwell from Colin Tizzard and John McConnell. Only 6 from the 16 runners from the Emerald Isle.


    2020 - An Irish 1-2-3-5-6. W Mullins from P Nolan and Gordon Elliott. Nine from 19 runners


    2019 - An Irish 1-2-3-6. H de Bromhead from G Elliott and W Mullins. Nine from 20 runners


    123 of the total 346 runners in the 19 races have been Irish Trained (36%). Those numbers have produced nine of the last 15 winners with The Nice Guy 18s, Vanillier 14s, Monkfish 5s, Minella Indo 50s, Penhill 16s Martello Tower 16s, Very Wood 33s, Berties Dream '10 Weapon's Amnesty '09. As well as ten seconds and nine thirds. In 2012 Boston Bob 6/5 fav just couldn't get to Brindisi Breeze. Irish trained would have produced another second if Black Harry hadn't suffered a tired fall at the last against Wichita Lineman.


    TRAINERS - W Mullins - The Nice Guy, Monkfish 2020 and Penhill 2017 from 47 runners including three short priced favourites. Shanbally Kid 8th last year, the best of his three. Ran four in 2022, Paul Townend 2nd on Minella Cocooner wistfully watched Sean O'Keefe cruise by on The Nice Guy. Two runners in 2021, best Stattler 7/2f in 4th. 2020 Monkfish and Janidil 5th. Ran three in 2019 best Alloha 3rd (Ruby seemed to get caught out of his ground by Rachel on 50/1 Minella Indo as they came round the last bend. Lot closer tabs kept in 2020 RSA) Three Willie runners in 2018 best Ballyward in 4th. Ran six of the eight Irish in 2016, best Balko Des Flos in 5th. Dancing City, Reading Tommy Wrong, Lecky Watson.


    P Nicholls trained Stay Away Fay and two not recent two runners up. Pride of Dulcote 2009 and Najaf 2010. 2021 Barbados Bucks 8/1, 11th. Captain Teague


    G Elliott has been hitting the crossbar recently. Three Card Brag 5th last year 4/1.Two unplaced 2022, Ginto met with tragedy. Going back, 2020 Fury Road 3rd, Commander of Fleet 2nd, Fagan in 2016 a 33/1 2nd and No More Heroes 3rd in 2015. Fakiera and Torygraph both at short odds, disappointed last year for Cullentra. Better Days Ahead, My Trump Card, Stellar Story.


    DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL - Nathaniel Lacey Solicitors G1 at the Dublin Racing Festival was a G2 2m 4f. Now upgraded to a 2m 6f G1 novice. The race has produced Vanillier, Martello Tower, Liskennett (2nd), Weapons Amnesty and Boston Bob. Last year Sandor Clegane was 3rd in both races, Weveallbeencaught was 8th and last in Dublin, a respectable 7th here. Good Land, the cosy DRF winner, well beaten in the Ballymore. 2022 the DRF 1st and 7th came here, finished 2nd and 11th. In 2021 year the 3rd, 4th and 10th came. Finished 4th, 10th and 1st respectively. 2020 Latest Exhibition 1st Fury Road 4th at Leopardstown, finished 2nd and 3rd here. Monkfish had won the O'Grady Memorial in Thurles. 2018 Tower Bridge won in Dublin, finished 5th here. Dancing City springs a surprise at 16/1 in a six runner field. Winners have finished 5222 in the Albert Bartlett.


    The G3 Mercedes-Benz run at Clonmel in 2019 featured Alloha beating Minella Indo. Places reversed here. A race won in previous years by Chris's Dream, Monalee, Roi Des Francs and, Don Poli. The race in 2020 was moved to Punchestown and then Navan last year. Shantreusse the first in three to turn up, 10th. Last year Monty's Star PU here. Search For Glory sprinted home.


    2021 Vanillier had finished 2nd to Farouk D'Alene in that G2 Limerick late December bog. 2017 Penhill strolled home at Limerick. A good ground stayer on the Flat. (Delta Work came from this race in 2018 to win the Pertemps Final) Derrinross unplaced 2019. Fury Road was the winner in LImerick before finishing 3rd here 2020. Eric Bloodaxe unplaced 2022, Favori De Champdou PU last year. Loughglynn bt Stellar Story, both then behind Dancing City at the DRF.


    Unowhatimeanharry threw in winning an Exeter Pertemps Qualifier after a Cheltenham G2 before coming here. Berties Dream finished 4th in the Boyne Hurdle before winning this at 22s in 2010. He was a trier..


    Before the recent Irish trained takeover, the 2m 4f plus Graded races at Cheltenham earlier in the season have produced winners in this.

    2010 - Berties Dream had been 3rd to Tell Massini in November G2. Restless Harry who fell at the last here, had previously won G2 in January.
    2011 - Mossley in 2nd had won the 3 mile December Novice. In the G2 in January 2011, Bobs Worth beat Rock On Ruby who was subsequently touched off in Ballymore by First Lieutenant.
    2013 - In January, At Fishers Cross beat The New One. Fishers then won this.

    2016 - Unowhatimeanharry won Albert Bartlett Trial in December. Shantou Village won 2m 5f Neptune Trial, started 7/2 fav here PU. Champers on Ice, 3rd here, had finished 2nd to Shantou Village.

    2017 - 1-2 Irish Trained. Wholestone in 3rd had won both of the two previous course novices.

    2018 - Kilbricken Storm won the 3m G2 December Novice, OK Corral in 2nd, had never been here before. Santini in 3rd, had beaten Black Op in the January 2m 5f novice.

    2019 - Irish 1-2-3 had never raced in the UK before this. Lisnagar Oscar in 5th had been 2nd to Rockpoint Dec 3m Rockpoint finished last. Dinons won 3m in October, PU here

    2020 - Irish 1-2-3, Thyme Hill in 4th won the course 2m 5f novice. Ramses de Teillee, Redford Road and Harry Senior, all course winners last season, all nowhere.

    2021 - Streets Of Doyen had won the 3m hurdle at the October meeting.

    2022 - Nothing. Hillcrest won the 2m 4f Listed on Jan ist, fell on Trials Day, started 9/4 fav for this. PU.

    2023 - Weveallbeencaught 7th, Rock My Way PU, Hermes Allen (RIP) disappointed in the Ballymore.


    CHELTENHAM TRIALS - The winners of the longer novice hurdles on course this season have been Butch, Minella Missile beat Captain Teague,   Shanagh Bob, Gidliegh Park.


    Albert Bartlett trial in December. Eight winners of that have turned up in March, five winners. Unowhatimeanharry 2016 first since Nenuphar Collonges in 2008. Wholestone 3rd here in 2017. Redford Road 14th and last home in his year. Bristol Novice Hurdle winners being 4/13 so far, finishing 3141P2FP13100. Blazing Khal inj 2022. Shanagh Bob


    January Trials Day 2m5f G2. Harry Senior PU here. Only eight winners of this race have lined up for the Albert Bartlett, three won, Santini and Wholestone both 3rd, Restless Harry fell at the last when still pitching against Berties Dream. Birchdale 2019, Harry Senior 2020 and Rock My Way last year PU. Abandoned 2021. Classic runners are 4/17 in the Albert Bartlett (winners 3/8) 2/16 in Ballymore (a couple of recent weak renewals but historically often the best novice hurdle in Britain prior to the Festival.)


    Overall, 17 of the 19 had won or placed in a Graded Novice Hurdle (Monkfish and The Nice Guy had not)


    AGE - Apart from Moulin Riche and Very Wood (5 yrs), Unowhatimeanharry (8 yrs) the remaining 16 were all six or seven years of age.


    Penhill became the only winner since Moulin Riche to have run on the flat. (That man Mullins again. No respect for stats). Apart from him, Stay Away Fay (Lingstown), Monkfish, Minella Indo, 'Harry and Kilbricken Storm all came from Irish point to points. Seven from the last 11 won a p2p. The Nice Guy just turned up in a bumper four months beforehand.


    African Gold (2nd 2013) was the first River Don winner at Doncaster late January to get involved in the finish of this. Last year Stay Away Fay had been 2nd to Maximilian at Doncaster. Barters Hill 4th here in 2016. 2017 N Henderson's Constantine Bay bt No Hassle Hoff in a hard race at Doncaster. Again finished a very credible fourth here. 2018 Enniscoffey Oscar well behind here. 2019 Nadaitak, 12th here. 2020 Ramses De Teillee, 2021 The Cob, both outclassed. Mahler Mission 7th in 2022. Kerryhill (not entered) strolled past PN's Welcom To Cartries.


    2012 Brindisi Breeze hadn't run at Cheltenham before but came from the G2 Albert Bartlett race at Haydock in mid-February. 2017 The Worlds End won at Haydock then fell here 'upsides' two out. Chef Des Obeaux PU 2018, Lisnagar Oscar 5th here 2019 after winning at Haydock. 2021 Alaphilippe won by 14l at Haydock, also finished 5th here. Hillcrest PU here. However, Green Book, who was stuffed at Haydock by Hillcrest, also finished 5th here.


    TRIP - 15 from the 19 had won a hurdle race over 2m 4f or further (The Nice Guy, only 2m 3f, Monkfish, twice, Kilbricken over 3 miles 'Harry and Martello Tower had each won twice over 3 miles, Not Minella Indo, a maiden over hurdles had won a p2p at Dromahane, (left handed, stiff climb to finish), not Very Wood. He had won a 4 yr old 3m Oldcastle P2P (left handed, stiff climb to finish) Had finished 3l 3rd in 2m 4f Naas G2. Moulin Riche 2nd in his Haydock race had won over 2m 4f in France.


    2 MILES 7 FURLONGS - Identified by Sam Walker in the Racing Post. Nine of the last 13 winners won or placed over hurdles at a trip of 2m 7 furlongs or more. Exceptions The Nice Guy, Vanillier, Bobs Worth 2011 and Very Wood 2014. FWIW the latter two both won on Cheltenham good ground. A nice addition is that 11 of the last 13 favourites had no Graded win or placed form over the 2m 7f marker. All 11 of those beaten. Corbett's Cross had won a £m Fairyhouse handicap off 130. Exception to the stat At Fishers Cross 2013. At Fishers Cross the only fav in eleven to win with previous graded placed hurdle form over 2m 7f. He won the G2 3m course novice in December.


    10 of the 19 had three or four runs over hurdles. Fay two, Nice Guy one only, Indo only two, second to Alloha in a 3m Clonmel G3. 'Harry and Berties Dream had 14, Moulin Riche eight, all were second season novices. Martello Tower and At Fishers Cross, both six hurdle runs, Penhill had seven. The latter had been on the go since May, possibly originally seen by Wilie as a summer hurdler. Ruby Walsh on The Road To Cheltenham of the opinion that 'as the calibre of horse rises, that need for experience may be dropping.'


    To back that up, Fay, Nice Guy, Minella Indo 2019 put the stat to bed that all 36 horses that had contested less than three hurdle races had been beaten. Birchdale, Dickie Diver had also only two runs. Alloha had one hurdle run in France before coming to Ireland. Two qualifiers in 2018, Santini (fav) and Ballyward. No qualifiers 2020 and 2021. All runners had raced at least on three occasions. 2022, the winner and Stag Horn (2) PU.


    Moulin Riche had won at Listed level in France, 10 others had won a Graded hurdle, Vanillier, Indo, Berties Dream and Very Wood just placed. Monkfish's last win was to sluice home in a Thurles 2m 6f novice. The Nice Guy jogged a Naas maiden.


    13 of the 19 were 1st or 2nd last time out in Graded class (Not Nice Guy, Vanillier, Monkfish, Kilbricken 3rd of six in a Challow Newbury bog, Very Wood 3rd, Berties had been 4th).


    10 of the last 14 were officially BHA rated 140+. Stay Away Fay only 136, Nice Guy and Indo obviously yet to achieve an official rating.


    Seven were course winners, Bertie's placed. Stay Away Fay, The Nice Guy, Vanillier, Monkfish, Minella Indo, Penhill, Martello Tower, Very Wood, Brindisi Breeze and Weapon's Amnesty had never been here before. Moulin Riche beaten both in Triumph and in a Chelt 2m 4f novice earlier that season.

    The Nice Guy and Black Jack Ketchum only unbeaten horses to win this. 'Harry, Bobs Worth and At Fishers Cross were unbeaten that season.


    Jonjo O'Neill has only ever run two in this. Both won. Last one in 2007. Black Jack Ketchum and Wichita Lineman.


    Only Wichita Lineman '07 ran in the Champion Bumper or G2 at Aintree. Stay Away Fay and Vanillier straight from p2p to hurdles.


    6 of the 19 had raced around Cheltenham at least twice. 12 hadn't.


    The last five started their hurdles career over a distance in excess of 2m. The previous five didn't. 9 of the 19 started their hurdling career over no more than 2 miles. Not sure if that proves anything.


    42 from the 55 win and placed so far were all 1st or 2nd last time out. Only the winner in 2023 None of the three in 2021 but all three in 2022 last year won last time out! Won't be much of a discriminator.


    Only 34 from 55 win and placed had already raced in a 3m hurdle race. Not 2nd nor third last year, Vanillier, Monkfish and Fury Road had run over 2m 7f. 1st and 3rd in 2019 had run in that Clonmel 3m G3. In 2018 just the winner. The Kilbricken Storm 1-2-3 in 2017 and 1-2 in 2016 had raced over 3m. Placed horses in 2015 had only run over 2m 6f. In 2014 none of the first three and the front runners in that race were picked off by Very Wood. Both At Fishers and Brindisi had raced over 3 miles, previous two winners had not.

    BREEDING - Both Penhill and 'Harry ENG bred. Vaniillier, Nenuphar and Moulin were FRE, the other 14 were IRE bred.


    SHORT PRICED FAVOURITES - Corbetts Cross 9/4, Hillcrest 9/4, Santini 11/4, Death Duty 13/8, Black Hercules, Briar Hill '14, Boston Bob and Brewster in '05 favourites under 3/1 and beaten. Both Thyme Hill and Commander Of Fleet were the 4/1 jolly and ran well. 2016 PU fav was Shantou Village at 7/2. Four other favourites under 3/1 have won (including Bobs Worth and Black Jack Ketchum). But also Minella Indo at 50/1, two 33/1 shots, Fay 18s and a 14/1 winner in 2016. 'Harry returned 11s. As well as Briar Hill 2/1f in 2014, Kings Palace was also backed from 4s to 5/2 second fav. Money staying in the satchels.

    36 last time beaten favourites BFs have ventured forth. Two winners, Stay Away Fay 18/1, (would make you weep), Weapons Amnesty at 9/1. Seven over the past three years, next best best Fury Road 3rd.


    BLINKERS - Very Wood 2014 won in first-time cheekpieces with a masterful Paul Carberry ride. Also Nenuphar Collonges 2008 from a total of 28 qualifiers. Nenuphar always wore blinkers and won this off a rating 134, in the race's first year as a G1. No headgear wearers last year, although Stay Away Fay was only one of two with a tongue tie. Minella Cocooner 2nd 2022 in his second time hood. Seven ran in 2021, best Streets Of Doyen 3rd. Paisley Park unplaced 2018 in a first-time visor which he didn't seem to take to.


    Penhill the only winner of this to return and win any Festival hurdle. Paisley Park first horse to get beat in this and return to win a Festival race. Lisnagar Oscar followed him. And then Good Time Johnny last year in the Pertemps. As a novice chaser Wichita Lineman was carried home by AP to win the JLT 3 mile h'cap Chase. Monkfish, Unlikely to see the like of him again.


    Horses beaten in the Albert Bartlett to return and win at the Festival? It would have been hard to pick out Lisnagar Oscar. Santini came close. To follow Paisley Park. Thanks to Rory Delargy for pointing out to me this list of subsequent Festival winners to have suffered the same fate. Chief Dan George, Bostons Angel, Oscar Park, Cape Tribulation, Teaforthree, The Druids Nephew, O'Faolins Boy, Black Hercules, Blaklion, Native River, Balko Des Flos. Also throw in other NH big guns such as Carruthers and Elegant Escape, Chris's Dream. Stattler came back to win the 2022 NH Chase, Alaphilippe 2nd in the 2022 Pertemps Final. Then Good Time Johnnny last year. Minella Cocooner Letsbclearabout it, Embassy Gardens, Montys Star?.