Moonlight Drive will have to defy stats to take Albert Bartlett
It may be the warm-up act for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but John Quinn will be watching the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle as intently as Paul Nicholls will watch the Gold Cup.
While Nicholls can boast a strong hand in the Cheltenham Gold Cup with the likes of Kauto Star (11/2 to win), Denman (6/1) and Neptunes Collonges (33/1), Quinn will be bringing just two chances from his Yorkshire stable to run at the Cheltenham Festival.
And while Recession Proof is gaining a lot of admirers in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Quinn feels Moonlight Drive is the forgotten horse of the Albert Bartlett.
Recession Proof is Quinn’s strongest chance at 8/1 to win the Supreme Novices, but you can’t help feel that the Irishman would take greater pleasure in seeing Moonlight Drive defy his Albert Bartlett odds of 25/1.
However Moonlight Drive will have to defy the trends if his is to succeed at a big price, and while the five-year-old won his only start over hurdles at Wetherby in February, all six winners of the Albert Bartlett have run over hurdles at least three times.
Moonlight Drive has two point-to-point races to his name, including a win at Glenbane, but horses such as Bobs Worth (6/1 joint favourite), Court In Motion (7/1) and Kilcrea Kim (10/1) all hold experience over Moonlight Drive.
However 6/1 joint favourite Back In Focus has only run once over hurdles, and after beating Court In Motion, there is plenty of money around for the favourite as punters go against the trend.
Moonlight Drive certainly seems a big price at 25/1 after dominating his race at Wetherby, and you can guarantee that should the four-year-old win, Quinn’s celebrations will go on long under the moonlight.
A £25 stake on Moonlight Drive winning the Albert Bartlett would return £650. New customers can sign up here for a free Cheltenham Festival bet worth £25.