“I think this horse is a bit of a freak”

Racing journalist Nick Robson reckons Henry Daly “has to” go for the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival with exciting novice hurdler Hillcrest.

“I think this horse is a bit of a freak,” he said during episode five of The Road To Cheltenham on Monday.

Robson told Betfred TV he was at Haydock to watch the seven-year-old win over a Grade Two over 3m on typically heavy ground the other week and was “very impressed”.

When asked if the race may have taken too much out of him so close to the Festival, Robson noted that Hillcrest was the only horse on the day to hit the line strongly and was hardly even taking a blow going into the winners’ enclosure. 

Radio DJ Joel Ross, a mainstay on The Road To Cheltenham, agrees that Hillcrest is a “standout bet” for the Albert Bartlett if he lines up on the day – while he also suggested Gordon Elliott’s Hollow Games will improve for the step-up in trip.

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Going down in trip to look at the Ballymore picture, Robson was extremely bullish about the chances of Sir Gerhard, who he thinks will run in the middle distance race as opposed to the Supreme.

He reckons Sir Gerhard has “so much in hand over the others”, and that the Ballymore is “his race to lose”.

Robson added: “It wouldn’t surprise me if this time next year he’s one of the favourites for the Champion Hurdle.”

Ross was on the same page, saying: “If Sir Gerhard turns up here he wins.”

Meanwhile, Robson admits he’s siding with Jonbon “at the prices” for the Supreme.

He told the panel he was at Nicky Henderson’s yard last week, and rumour has it that Jonbon worked alongside former Champion Hurdle winner Epatante – and worked better than her!

Ross admits he’s still worried about his behaviour in the preliminaries, with a tendency to sweat up and get a bit buzzy, so is siding with Willie Mullins’ Dysart Dynamo.

For this episode’s charity bets, Matt Hulmes adds Mount Ida at 5/2 for the Mares’ Chase to his list – while Ross opts for Good Risk It All at 7/1 E/W in the Coral Cup.

Watch the full Road To Cheltenham episode below


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