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Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1, Cheltenham 14:40
£120,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m, Class 1  
Friday 13th March 2015

1 Martello Tower 14/1
2 Milsean 33/1
3 No More Heroes 6/1
4 Arbre De Vie 16/1
NR: Fletchers Flyer (IRE)
19 ran Distances: ½l, 1l, 3¼l
TIME 6m 0.30s (slow by 19.30s)

Martello Tower holds off a strong challenge from Milsean to land the Grade 1

Martello Tower
© Caroline Norris
Martello Tower

Martello Tower gave trainer Mags Mullins her first Festival winner when running out the game winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle this afternoon.

The 14/1 shot got into a protracted battle with the Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair Milsean (ridden by Mullins' son Danny) and No More Heroes approaching the last, but dug deep to repel the challenge of the former to record a half length victory in a slow-motion finish.

Mullins, who was married to trainer Willie Mullins' brother Tony (also a trainer), was ecstatic after the race and could scarcely believe her horse had won.

"It's brilliant - I'm so delighted!" enthused the trainer.

"I was very confident before the race as I knew he'd stay but sometimes it's a different league over here so you're nervous as everything has to go right. Everything has gone right though from the time we've arrived and it also did during the race. It doesn't always work that way.

"He's just so tough and always keeps going - you never get to the end of him. It's great to get a winner at the Festival - I'm so excited! I've trained a winner here at the November meeting but never at The Festival.

"It's great to see Danny ride the second and I also have the mother of this horse at home as well so it's a real family affair. Danny actually rode him out this morning and he said he thought he had a big chance too.

"I've only had the one runner at The Festival before and he came third in this race (Travino who finished behind Black Jack Ketchum in the 2006 running). It's great to win but the main thing is they all came back in one piece.

"I've got about 15 to 20 horses in training at the moment - they're all a mix of everything. I'm so happy for Brian (Connell - owner) as he deserves a big winner here."

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
(Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 1)
£120,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1
19 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Martello Tower (IRE) 14/1 A P Heskin
11-7
Ms M Mullins 7
2nd ½ Milsean (IRE) 33/1 D E Mullins
11-7
W P Mullins 6
3rd 1 No More Heroes (IRE) 6/1 B J Cooper
11-7
G Elliott 6
4th Arbre De Vie (FR) 16/1 P Townend
11-7
W P Mullins 5
5th 11 Value At Risk 8/1 Harry Skelton
11-7
D Skelton 6
6th Shantou Bob (IRE) 25/1 G Sheehan
11-7
W Greatrex 7
7th 17 Black Hercules (IRE) 5/2f R Walsh
11-7
W P Mullins 6
8th 8 Measureofmydreams (IRE) 100/1 M P Fogarty
11-7
W P Mullins 7
9th 10 Native River (IRE) 40/1 Brendan Powell
11-7
C L Tizzard 5
10th 3 Shanroe Santos (IRE) 100/1 L P Aspell
11-7
Mrs L Wadham 6
PU Avant Tout (FR) 100/1 D J Casey
11-7
W P Mullins 5
PU Blaklion 10/1 S Twiston-Davies
11-7
N A Twiston-Davies 6
PU Caracci Apache (IRE) 20/1 Nico de Boinville
11-7
N J Henderson 5
PU Carningli (IRE) 66/1 T Scudamore
11-7
Miss R Curtis 6
PU Definitly Red (IRE) 11/1 R Johnson
11-7
B Ellison 6
PU Kylemore Lough 100/1 C Poste
11-7
R Lee 6
PU Tea For Two 18/1 Lizzie Kelly
11-7
Nick Williams 6
PU Thomas Brown 12/1 N D Fehily
11-7
H Fry 6
F Out Sam 14/1 B J Geraghty
11-7
N J Henderson 6
NR Fletchers Flyer (IRE) A P McCoy
11-7
H Fry 7

Tower battles to victory for Heskin

Adrian Heskin rode the second Festival winner of his career on Martello Tower, trained by Margaret Mullins, in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. His first was A New Story for Michael Hourigan in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in 2010.

Heskin said: "It was a long wait but, by God, I will enjoy this one. I was only 17 and I didn't realise what it was; it was my first ride here. I've put in a lot of hard work since then, and great thanks to Barry Connell for giving me the opportunity to ride in these [races]; without him I wouldn't be here today."

"Martello Tower is a real tough horse but all he does is find and find off the bridle. He pricked his ears about five times after the last and I said "I have plenty left here" so I got stuck into him and he delivered.

"On the ground, I was afraid that he might have done too much with me early so I did fill him away down the hill. There's not a blow out of the horse and he's a fair one.

"I was up the tails of the leaders the whole way and we didn't get much kickback.

"We were pleased to see the rain come this morning. I knew it would be a battle from the turn-in and this horse wouldn't let you down in a battle.

"Fair play to Mrs Mullins, she had him timed to the minute today and the three miles is right up his alley.

"He was never doing a whole pile under me - he's an idle sort of horse and you'd want to be as hard as you can on him because he keeps finding, and that's one of his great attributes. He's going to be around for a long time.

"He's a future chaser without a doubt. He'll give all the top novices a good crack next year and hopefully we'll be lucky with him."

Commenting on the ground, he said: "It's getting open now. It's proper soft ground."

Milsean justifies lorry trip from Ireland

Willie Mullins cannot train every winner at the Cheltenham Festival, but a second and fourth in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle was a fair return.

Milsean, a 33/1 shot ridden by Danny Mullins, made much of the running and was still in front over the final flight, but just failed to repel the winner, Martello Tower, who won by half a length. The runner-up and third-placed No More Heroes, who was a length further behind in third, came close together on the run-in when the last-named attempted to gain a run between Milsean and the rail.

Bryan Cooper had to snatch up the Gordon Elliott-trained No More Heroes, but at a stewards' inquiry the result was allowed to stand. Both horses are in the ownership of Gigginstown House Stud.

Mullins, who also saddled Arbre De Vie, who was fourth, said of Milsean: "The O'Learys [Michael and Eddie of Gigginstown House Stud] and myself have just decided we need to run him every week between now and the Punchestown Festival because he's such a barrel of a horse. He would eat stones - he's such a big, gross horse.

"All the horses I've run in this race [five in total, including unplaced 5/2 favourite Black Hercules] are chasers for the future.

"I'm particularly pleased with Milsean - he had two disappointing runs before he came here and we were even wondering why we bothered to put him on the lorry, so to run as well as this is very pleasing."

PREVIOUS RESULTS

2014-WINNER-VERY WOOD 5-11-07 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-33/1
2ND-Deputy Dan 6-11-07 Owner-Tim Syder; Trainer-Oliver Sherwood; Jockey-Leighton Aspell; SP-10/1
3RD-Apache Jack 6-11-07 Owner-Mrs Pat Sloan; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-20/1
18 ran, Time-5m 50.70s; Dist-4½, sh 2/1 Fav Briar Hill (Fell)

2013-WINNER-AT FISHERS CROSS 6-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer- Rebecca Curtis; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-11/8 Fav
2ND-African Gold 5-11-07 Owner- Ron Bauer; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-9/2
3RD-Inish Island 7-11-07 Owner- Susan, Hazel F& Patrick Flanagan; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-13/2
13 ran, Time-6m 40.10s; Dist-4½, nose

2012-WINNER-BRINDISI BREEZE 6-11-07 Owner-Sandy Seymour; Trainer-Lucinda Russell; Jockey-Campbell Gillies; SP-7/1
2ND-Boston Bob 7-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/5 Fav
3RD-Grand Vision 6-11-07 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Tom O’Brien; SP-25/1 20 ran, Time-5m 47.20s; Dist-2, 1¼

2011-WINNER-BOBS WORTH 6-11-07 Owner-The Not Afraid Partnership; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-15/8 Fav
2ND-Mossley 5-11-07 Owner-Michael Buckley; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-12/1
3RD-Court In Motion 6-11-07 Owner-Nick Mustoe; Trainer-Emma Lavelle; Jockey-Jack Doyle; SP-9/1
18 ran, Time-5m 42.20s; Dist-21⁄4, 6

2010-WINNER-BERTIES DREAM 7-11-07 Owner-Half A Keg Syndicate; Trainer-Paul Gilligan IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-33/1
2ND-Najaf 5-110-7 Owner-The Johnson & Stewart Families; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-25/1
3RD-Kennel Hill Owner-Peter & Lisa Hall; Trainer-Keith Goldsworthy; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-66/1
19 ran, Time-5m 55.60s; Dist-6, 8 100/30 Fav Tell Massini (PU)

2009-WINNER-WEAPON'S AMNESTY 6-11-07 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer Charles Byrnes IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-8/1
2ND-Pride Of Dulcote 6-11-07 Owner-Angela Yeoman; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-3/1 Fav
3RD-The Midnight Club 8-11-07 Owner-C C R Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Emmet Mullins; SP-14/1
17 ran, Time-5m 59.90s; Dist-½, 2

2008-WINNER-NENUPHAR COLLONGES 7-11-07 Owner-Top Brass Partnership; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
2ND-Liskennett 5-11-00 Owner- Patrick Pierce; Trainer-Charles Byrnes IRE; Jockey-Niall Madden; SP-16/1
3RD-The Tother One 7-11-07 Owner-Graham Roach; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Sam Thomas; SP-9/2 Jt Fav
18 ran, Time-6m 0.20s; Dist-2¾, ½ 9/2 Jt Fav Carruthers (11th)

2007-WINNER-WICHITA LINEMAN 6-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-11/8 Fav
2ND-Air Force One 5-11-07 Owner-Brian Walsh (Co Kildare); Trainer-Charlie Mann; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-25/1
3RD-Itsa Legend 8-11-07 Owner-The We’re A Legend Partnership; Trainer-The We’re A Legend Partnership; SP-100/1
20 ran Time-5m 43.60s; Dist-12, 6

2006-WINNER-BLACK JACK KETCHUM 7-11-07 Owner-Gay Smith; Trainer-Jonjo O'Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-Evens Fav
2ND-Powerstation 6-11-07 Owner-Fat Frog Syndicate; Trainer-Charles Byrnes IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-9/1
3RD-Travino 7-11-07 Owner-P Kilroy; Trainer-Mags Mullins IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty 6/1
19 ran Time-5m 43.6s; Dist-12,6

2005-WINNER-MOULIN RICHE 4-11-00 Owner-Elite Racing Club; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
2ND-Faasel 4-11-00 Owner-Jim Ennis; Trainer-Nicky Richards; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-7/1
3RD-Akilak 4-11-00 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/2 Fav
23 ran. Time-4m 3.60s; Dist-hd, 8

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