Daniel Reidy continues his Ante Post look at Cheltenham 2016 by taking a look over the Albert Bartlett on Day Four.
It’s hard to tell which horses will show up for this as a lot of horses have other options but we have a fair idea.
It’s usually a gruelling end to end gallop run over 3 miles and you really need an out and out stayer with decent pace to win this race. Barters Hill is a horse that we have been very sweet on for some time.
The form of his Listed bumper win at Newbury has worked out incredibly well. He beat Buveur D’air, Altior, Final Nudge, Wishing and Hoping and Duke Des Champs that day. Each one of those have won multiple races since.
Barters Hill made all that day and was ridden hard from 2f out but fought hammer and tongs all the way to the line and won gamely. He held off strong challenges from Buveur D’air and Altior. Both of whom are well fancied for the Supreme Novices Hurdle over 2 mile. Barters Hill finished out last season with a win in a very hotly contested Grade 2 bumper at the Aintree Festival.
He made all again that day. He was pressed 2f out by Bellshill but yet again he was too strong in the finish and was very game. Buveur D’Air was back in 4th. He wasn’t at his best that day but he has since shown what he can do.
Again just like the race at Newbury several horses from that race have won since. Bellshill won the G1 Champion bumper at Punchestown after that run. He has also won a Grade 2 and a Grade 1 over hurdles this season.
He is favourite for the Neptune and will take a fair bit of beating. Barters Hill ended the season 4 from 4 in bumpers.
He started off his novice hurdle campaign in great style this season. He won first time up at Huntingdon by 14l. He beat North Hill Harvey that day. That horse won a hotly contested novice hurdle at Cheltenham back in December. The form of that win at Huntingdon is working out well. The step up in trip has brought out a fair bit of improvement in him. His most recent run was in the G1 Challow Hurdle.
There were only 3 runners but it was still a decent field. Barters Hill was green on the final bend and ran around a bit but he was only getting into his groove. He powered away after jumping the last to win by 12l.
He made a 142 rated horse look ordinary. Barters Hill reminds me a lot of Hardy Eustace. Front runner, tough as nails, lots of stamina and bags of pace. We think he’s a star in the making.
Barters Hill’s trainer Ben Pauling has still not made up his mind as to which race he will run in at Cheltenham. It will either be in this race over 3 miles or in the Neptune over 2 mile 5f. He definitely has the pace for the Neptune but the Albert Bartlett is the easiest option. We think he can win either race though. Barters Hill is entered up this weekend. He’s in both the Neptune and Albert Bartlett trial races.
I’m sure his trainer will nominate which race he will go for at the festival depending on how he gets on at the weekend. We’re on him antepost at big prices and he will be one of our bankers of the week.
As it is at the moment, it might be worth having a small bet on him in the Neptune at 16/1, just in case he changes to that race. But 4/1 with William Hill to win either of those races at the Cheltenham Festival looks the bet.
Of the others in this race there is one other that we do like and that is Shantou Village.
On the off chance that Barters Hill goes for the Neptune, Shantou Village is the one I think that could pick up the pieces. He is 3 from 3 under rules for his trainer Neil Mulholland. He has won his last two races by a combined distance of 34l.
He beat Delusionofgrandeur by 19l at Catterick over 2 mile 4f for Noel Fehily. He never had to move a muscle that day and the horse showed a great turn of foot on good ground. He then followed that win up with a win in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at the Cheltenham November meeting. He beat a good field that day and made them look ordinary. He sauntered his way through the race and won ever so easily.
The winning distance was 15l but it could’ve easily been a lot more. The runner up has won two decent races since.
Shantou Village hasn’t run since. His only form so far has been on good ground. He has yet to encounter soft or heavy. He is entered up for this weekend though, so we’ll see then if he can handle the prevailing conditions. He could prove hard to beat if the ground came up good at Cheltenham in March.
He like Barters Hill has an entry for the Neptune at the festival but his trainer has said that this is the race for him. He has yet to come off the bridle and we won’t know how good he is until he does.
It will be a very interesting weekend ahead. Shantou Village and Barters Hill could face each other. Now is the best time to have a bet on both. Come Monday, they may both be much shorter.
Selection: Barters Hill 4/1 – (To Win Neptune Or Albert Bartlett) & Shantou Village E.W 12/1