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2013 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle race guide and tips - Cross is nailed on

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (due off 2.40om) is for novice hurdlers over three miles on the New Course and is invariably a war of attrition.

What are the key trends?
Experience is essential with all eight winners having raced at least three times. Stamina counts for plenty too with all bar one of the eight winning over at least 2m5f, with six of those being successful in Graded company. Punters have had a good time of it in the main with nine of the last 10 winners being returned at less than 10/1, with three market leaders obliging.

Who's favourite?
At Fishers Cross fits all the above trends and had his form boosted this week when The New One, whom he beat here last time (2m5f), scooted up in the Neptune Novices'. That was his fourth win on the bounce and he'd previously won a course and distance handicap, so he clearly likes it here. Soft ground is important to him so connections will be hoping the forecast rain materialises.

Which horses provide the stiffest challenge?
Ballycasey has been usurped as favourite but he's still likely to prove a hard nut to crack. The fact he's only had two hurdle runs is far from ideal but he does have experience in the pointing field, where he stayed 3m well enough. Both his wins were on very deep ground but as a son of Presenting he might appreciate a better surface. African Gold is chasing a five-timer here and impressed when winning under a double penalty at Doncaster last time. His stable is going great guns with two Festival wins already this week, so he must come into the reckoning.

Any outsiders worth considering?
Nicky Henderson's Utopie Des Bordes is another realistic contender. She was a useful chase in France and has won both her starts over hurdles for new connections. She looks sure to appreciate the step up to three miles. Cloudy Copper has ploughed through the mud to win both his starts, albeit in low grade company. Our Vinnie was touched off here in October and has won twice since in his native Ireland. His trainer Charles Byrnes won this with Weapon's Amnesty.

Best bookmaker offer?
Boylesports will refund your losing stake if your horse finishes second, beaten by up to half a length.

Where to watch live?
Place a bet of at least £0.50 (£0.25 each-way) with bet365, click on the live streaming icon next to the race and watch it live on your PC.

What's the verdict?
Much depends on how much rain hits the track as AT FISHERS CROSS would be something to bet on if it came up soft, which seems highly likely. It seems bookmakers are already presuming that as he's no bigger than 3/1 and considerably shorter in places. I've a healthy respect for African Gold (on at 33s ante post) and his stable form is encouraging, but the favourite may be the stronger stayer and he has that valuable course experience under his belt too. If it pelts it down overnight and tomorrow morning as expected, he will definitely go off shorter than 3/1, so I'm getting stuck in now!

Recommended Bet:-

At Fishers Cross 4pts @ 3/1 William Hill


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2013 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle race guide and tips - Cross is nailed on

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (due off 2.40om) is for novice hurdlers over three miles on the New Course and is invariably a war of attrition.

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