• Won one of last three starts
  • Run in three or more hurdles
  • Not run for at least 26 days
  • Placed in Grade 2, or won Grade 3
  • Aged 6 or 7

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Did Trends win last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Last year’s trends shortlist for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, picked out the winner, third and fifth, from a key group of four.

Winner Kilbricken Storm was surprisingly 33/1 in the Cheltenham betting, despite winning a course-and-distance Grade 2 last time out, and really fulfilling all the key 14-year, 10-year and Top 5 Albert Bartlett trends criteria.

He had been beaten in a Grade 1, but that was over a shorter distance, and not a negative for Albert Bartlett winners, given most winners and placed horses have never run in a Grade 1 at all.

The second Ok Corral missed the trends shortlist because he was too lightly-tried, with just three hurdle runs, that didn’t include a run over 3m, or any runs in Graded company. At eight, he was also too old to fit any trends.

Third Santini was the number one pick on trends, having won the best trial for the Albert Bartlett, the Classic Novices’ Hurdle – a race contested by three of the last 10 winners. He was the 11/4 favourite.

The other picks chosen on trends were fifth-placed Tower Bridge, who had won a new 2m6f Grade 1 novice hurdle at Leopardstown last time out, and the ninth Chris’s Dream, who impressed when winning a Grade 3 last time out.


14-year-trends (introduced in 2005)

The last 14 winners…

  • Won one of their last three starts
  • Had run in three or more novice hurdles
  • Had not run for at least 26 days
  • Finished in the first four last time out


The last 10 winners…

  • Were officially rated 135 or higher
  • Had run at least four times in the past 12 months
  • Had run at least three times that season
  • Had finished in the first three in a Grade 2
  • Had finished at least third if they had run at Cheltenham before – four being unbeaten at the course

Nine of the last 10 winners…

  • Were aged between 6-8
  • Had won on a galloping track before
  • Had won all Grade 3s they contested, or finished first three in a Grade 2 – or both
  • Had won at least two hurdle races
  • Had run over at least 2m7f before – eight winning
  • Last ran in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 hurdle
  • Last ran no more than 78 days ago
  • Finished in the first three last time out – exception finished fourth

Eight of the last 10 winners…

  • Had won a Grade 3 or Grade 2 hurdle
  • Had won over at least 2m7f before – two exceptions had won over 2m4.5f

The last 30 win and place positions

30/30 placed horses

  • Were officially rated 135 or higher
  • Finished in the first three in one of their last three starts
  • Finished in the first five last time out

29/30 placed horses

  • Had run in at least two novice hurdles
  • Last ran in a handicap or novices’ hurdle
  • Had their last run between 26 and 90 days ago

28/30 placed horses

  • Had run at least three times that season

23/30 placed horses

  • Had run in a Grade 2 hurdle – and they had all been placed, or won

KEY RACE TRENDS (12 years)

(Last Graded race contested prior to the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle)

Key Race Dist Racecourse Winners Place Finishers
Classic Novices’ Hurdle (G2) 2m4.5f Cheltenham At Fishers Cross (2013), Bobs Worth (2011), Wichita Lineman (2007) Santini (2018), Wholestone (2017), Champers On Ice (2016)
Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (G2) 2m7f Haydock Brindisi Breeze (2012) Kennel Hill (2010), Court In Motion (2011), Itsa Legend (2007)
Novice Hurdle (G2)(Discontinued) 2m4f Leopardstown Martello Tower (2015), Weapons Amnesty (2009) No More Heroes (2015), Liskennett (2008)
Slaney Novice Hurdle (G2) (Now G1) 2m4f Naas Very Wood (2014) Apache Jack (2014)
Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (G2) 2m5f Warwick Nenuphar Collonges (2008) Deputy Dan (2014), Mossley (2011)
Boyne Hurdle (G2) 2m5f Navan Berties Dream (2010) None


Trainer Runs Wins Win% P/L Places
Willie Mullins 30 1 3 -13.00 4
Nicky Henderson 12 1 8 -9.12 3
Colin Tizzard 7 1 14 27.00 1
Gordon Elliott 5 0 0 -5.00 2
Nigel Twiston-Davies 9 0 0 -9.00 2
Paul Nicholls 6 0 0 -6.00 2

How Kilbricken Storm won 2018′ Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Perhaps a forgotten horse, Kilbricken Storm landed a 33/1 shock in the 2018 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

Trained by Colin Tizzard, the seven-year-old had run three times over hurdles, winning twice, including over 3m in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham, but what had stuck in punters’ minds was his comprehensive defeat in a Grade 1 last time out.

It was the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury, run on very heavy ground, and over a much shorter distance than his big victory had come over two weeks earlier. The run could have also come too soon, and meant he was then given a full two and a half month break before his Cheltenham Festival date.

4.50 CHELTENHAM – 2018 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Result

  1. Kilbricken Storm 33/1
  2. Ok Corral 16/1
  3. Santini 11/4f

While he was off, Santini had shot to the head of the betting with victory in the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle at the course in January. Not far behind him was Chef Des Obeaux, winner of another key trial, the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock, and Chris’s Dream, who had proven galaxies ahead of his rivals in his first Grade 3 last time out.

But Kilbricken Storm still lined up a Cheltenham Grade 2 winner, with a year of maturing over Santini. Under jockey Harry Cobden, he hit the front just before the last hurdle, and powered away up the hill to win by three lengths.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Ok Corral and Santini finished second and third, Ballyward best of the Irish in fourth, and Tower Bridge in sixth.

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