CeeBee looks ahead to the Cheltenham festival and the Ben Pauling trained Barters Hill looks rock solid in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.
Let’s face it; in the modern bookmaking age there’s very little value to be had in betting ante-post on the Cheltenham Festival. On the day there’ll be multiple extra place specials, money back offers and enhanced prices as bookies battle for your business.
If you feel the need to back Douvan (4/7), Faugheen (4/6) or take a chance with fragile sorts like Sprinter Sacre (4/1), Annie Power (evs) and More of That (5/1) with over 2 months to go – more power to you.
And to those who are happy to invest their money and try decide on the targets of Bellshill, Yorkhill, Yanworth, Tombstone, Vautour, Road to Riches etc. – more power to you.
There is however bits and pieces of value to be found. This one greatly appeals to me:
Barters Hill – Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
Barters Hill is 6 from 6 including a Grade 2 bumper win from Bellshill and a 12 length win in the G1 Challow Hurdle. His form is by far and away the best of any novice heading towards the Cotswolds.
For comparison Min is 5/2 favourite for the Supreme having raced just once in Ireland (beaten twice when young in France) against average sorts. Bellshill is 4/1 favourite for the Neptune, when it’s not definitely his target and he didn’t have the best bumper form last season either.
Then there’s the unbeaten G1 winner Barters Hill, with super bumper form last season for good measure. His target is almost certain and it’s the weakest novice hurdle at the Festival. 5/1 is far too big a price. He’s 7/2 in places and even that’s possibly too big.
For a horse that looks a pure stayer,in need of 3 miles, his bumper victories last season were phenomenal. He beat Buveur D’Air and Altior at Newbury before holding off Bellshill at Aintree. That sentence could easily contain the Supreme and Neptune winners!
He’s 2 from 2 over hurdles, by 14L at Huntingdon and 12L at Newbury. Ok they were small fields and he was short odds-on, but the performances were that of a top drawer sort. The opposition at Newbury wasn’t that bad. They were G2 140-ish horses. A step up to 3miles, with some company so he doesn’t have to make all, will definitely help. He looked green and even lazy last time but it was probably due to being out on his own for so long.
Up For Review is second favourite for the Albert Bartlett and to me it’s a good thing. His presence ensures neither Yorkhill nor Bellshill will step up to 3miles. Up For Review has plenty to prove yet. He was beaten in 3 different bumpers. Space Cadet who chased him home on his hurdles debut was beaten next time. Jetstream Jack who chased him home last weekend was beaten the time before. Nambour had a problem and wasn’t at his best. Ok Up For Review has won easy, but the form is light years from what Barters Hill has achieved.
Shantou Village is next in the betting but that’s based somewhat on one suspect run. He won easily at Cheltenham, but Champers on Ice was coming from an out of form Pipe yard and Penglai Pavilion didn’t handle the ground that day. It’s form I wouldn’t trust until seeing more from him. Connections have said he may yet go for the Neptune. Trials Day will tell a lot more.
Plenty of the current ante-post favourites will be a similar price on the day. Barters Hill isn’t one of them. He goes off 2/1 for the Albert Bartlett.
For reference, the odds of the last 5 favourites: Bobs Worth 15/8, At Fishers Cross 11/8, Black Hercules 5/2, Boston Bob 6/5, Briar Hill 2/1
3 points win Barters Hill at 5/1 with Ladbrokes, William Hill and Betfred