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Irish Point Winners Prominent in Albert Bartlett Betting for Cheltenham Festival

Three of the last five winners of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle started their racing careers in the Irish point field.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense to aim racehorses with already proven stamina over the 3m trip when competing under Rules at the Cheltenham Festival.

Bookmakers are certainly respectful of a host of former Irish pointers for the 2019 renewal of the Grade 1 event for novice stayers. Which contenders with this background should you watch out for, and maybe place a bet on, this year?

Lisnagar Oscar

Rebecca Curtis-trained six-year-old Lisnagar Oscar has done nothing but improve since justifying favouritism to land a Liscarroll maiden point last year. Although he failed to win either his debut under Rules in a Chepstow bumper or hurdles bow at Ffos Las, the trips were simply too short for him.

The Oscar gelding has improved past Bristol Novices' Hurdle winner Rockpoint to land his next two starts. Lisnagar Oscar still held Dickie Diver when dropping down in distance and sent off 15/8 favourite at Chepstow, but was then most impressive in winning the Grade 2 Prestige Novices' Hurdle over an extended 3m at Haydock Park at a starting price of 6/1.

He bolted up by 10 lengths from a field containing promising contemporaries and is now 7/1 best for the Albert Bartlett. Given his trainer won the race in 2013 with At Fishers Cross, Lisnagar Oscar must be respected and has every right to be prominent in the betting off the back of a very taking success.

Commander of Fleet

County Meath handler Gordon Elliott has never won the Albert Bartlett, but that may be about to change as Moig South point victor Commander Of Fleet looks a likely runner. The five-year-old Fame And Glory gelding made a swift and seamless transition to Rules when backed into 5/1 for and scoring in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival just a month later last year.

Commander Of Fleet then had his maiden hurdle opponents strung out like washing when returned at odds of 1/5 at Punchestown before connections found the drop back to 2m too sharp. This is often the case with point-2-point winners, but the Gigginstown House stud owned racehorse boun

ced back when up in distance and sent off at 13/2 for a novice stayers' event at the Dublin Racing Festival.
His Grade 1 victory over 2m 6f is among the leading Irish form on offer for this year's Albert Bartlett.

Commander Of Fleet is 8/1 best and shorter with many bookmakers, who are sure to offer free bets aplenty for your Cheltenham betting 2019 on this and other races.

Birchdale and Dickie Diver

Leading Irish own JP McManus sources his horses from a variety of backgrounds, but notably has two he bought and sent to Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows yard with Albert Bartlett claims off the back of Irish point victories. Joining the aforementioned Dickie Diver - a wide-margin 20-length winner at Templenacarriga - is Birchdale. This pair are prominent in the betting.

Both of these horses are unexposed after just three career runs. While Birchdale was less impressive in his Irish point win at Tyrella, the five-year-old Jeremy gelding won well at Warwick when favourite on his Rules debut and then when stepped up into Grade 2 company in the Classic Novices' Hurdle over 2m 5f at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day.

It's possible he was flattered by that 18-length victory as his closest challenger fell at the last, but Birchdale looks a very solid each-way bet at worst at 10/1. Dickie Diver, meanwhile, responded to his head defeat by Lisnagar Oscar by landing a Chepstow maiden when sent off odds-on.

He's the shorter of the McManus pair with 9/1 for the six-year-old son of Gold Well drying up with bookies.

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