Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1
£120,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m, Class 1
Friday 14th March 2014

Horses 468x60 Jpg

1 Very Wood 33/1
2 Deputy Dan 10/1
3 Apache Jack 20/1
NR: Blakemount (IRE), Port Melon (IRE)
18 ran Distances: 4½l, shd, 5l
TIME 5m 50.70s (slow by 9.70s)

Very Wood, a 33/1 outsider trained by Noel Meade, won today's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, completing a quick double for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud.

Very Wood
© Caroline Norris
Very Wood

The winner was almost withdrawn yesterday after a stone bruise in his foot caused the horse to suddenly become lame.

Meade said: "In the morning we pulled him out of his box and he could hardly put his hind leg on the ground. The course vet rang me and said, 'He has no chance of being sound in time, you had better take him out'. Then he said, 'We'll poultice him and work on it, so declare him anyway'.

"We took the shoe off and got stuck into it straight away, and all the crew worked up and down. A bucket load of pus came out, which was the best thing, and when we put the shoe back on today he was fine."

O'Leary, whose Tiger Roll had won the day's opening race, the JCB Triumph Hurdle, said: "I've waited two years for a winner here, and then get two in an hour. The best stayer won. This horse will definitely jump a fence one day, but he's by Presenting and needs this better ground. He won't get much of it at home in Ireland."

Meade, who was welcoming his fourth Festival winner, was not surprised by the result, although on the form book his horse had no chance against Briar Hill, who started favourite today, but fell in the back straight. Meade said: "I know our horse was getting weight [10lb] from Briar Hill last time out [when beaten three lengths], but it was two and a half miles that day and our horse was staying on. In another 100 yards our horse would have won.

"It's hard to beat a winner here. Everybody that trains jumping horses wants to win at Cheltenham - we dream about it from the start of the season. We came here with only two runners which is unbelievable given that we felt, at the start of the season, that we had our best team ever. But we got a bug six weeks ago and the horses had temperatures of 104 and 105. We had to shut up shop for three weeks and it's been hard to take - everybody has worked hard to turn it around."


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

Very Wood
N Meade
P Carberry
11st 7lbs
33 - 1
Deputy Dan
O Sherwood
L Aspell
11st 7lbs
10 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Apache Jack
D T Hughes
B J Geraghty
11st 7lbs
20 - 1
Short Head
Champagne West
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
11st 7lbs
14 - 1
5 lengths
Masters Hill
C L Tizzard
J Tizzard
11st 7lbs
66 - 1
21 lengths
Sausalito Sunrise
P J Hobbs
T J O'Brien
11st 7lbs
50 - 1
9 lengths
Urban Hymn
J M Jefferson
B Hughes
11st 7lbs
14 - 1
10 lengths
N A Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies
11st 7lbs
66 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Briar Hill
W P Mullins
D J Casey
11st 7lbs
2 - 1
Captain Cutter
N J Henderson
A P McCoy
11st 7lbs
7 - 1
Kings Palace
D Pipe
T Scudamore
11st 7lbs
5 - 2
Madness Light
W Greatrex
G Sheehan
11st 7lbs
100 - 1
Miss E C Lavelle
Aidan Coleman
11st 7lbs
20 - 1
Prince Siegfried
J P Ferguson
D F O'Regan
11st 7lbs
100 - 1
Regal Diamond
P Bowen
J E Moore
11st 7lbs
100 - 1
Rydon Pynes
M Hill
Hadden Frost
11st 7lbs
66 - 1
Saint Roque
P F Nicholls
N Fehily
11st 7lbs
50 - 1
The Job Is Right
M Hourigan
A P Heskin
11st 7lbs
80 - 1
Port Melon
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
11st 7lbs
Mrs S J Smith
Ryan Mania
11st 7lbs



Very Wood capitalised on the departure of the 2/1 favourite Briar Hill, who fell on the back straight, to win by four and a half lengths at Cheltenham this afternoon.

The 33/1 shot was always travelling well under Paul Carberry and he managed to overhaul the long-time leader and eventual runner-up, Deputy Dan, after the final hurdle to give Noel Meade his fourth Festival winner.

"I am delighted to get a winner," said Carberry.

"Ruby, A P and Barry are expected to win but I am always expected to come up with a surprise shock - it was a good one though!

"He travelled and he jumped super. He is going to be a lovely chaser. He travelled great the whole way - he left his hind legs in the third last and I just had to gather him up and get him going again - but he stormed up the hill.

"The plan was to follow Barry (Geraghty, rider of third-placed Apache Jack) as he'd beaten us last time out at Naas and it came off as he's been able to pick them up at the end of the race.

"He's jumped super as he's a big horse with a big stride and I'd imagine he'll be going over fences soon.

"I always thought he'd stay as he was staying on nicely at the end of two and a half miles last time out. That was the first time I'd ridden him and he gave me the feel of a stayer.

"I was confident all the way round."



Trainer Oliver Sherwood was philosophical in defeat after Deputy Dan finished second, beaten four lengths by Very Wood.

"It's bloody frustrating to finish second," said Sherwood. "I thought we had won off the bend but he just looked at the arena and slightly ballooned the last.

"He's a top-class horse and Leighton (Aspell) said that the horse gave him the best ride he'd ever had, he pinged every hurdle. He'd never seen ground like this before but had no problem on it.

"He's got a lovely temperament and couldn't give a monkey's about anything. I'd have no problem dropping him back to two miles and five on softer ground. I don't think he'd be suited by Aintree so we'll look at Punchestown and he'll make a lovely chaser next year."

Dessie Hughes, trainer of third-placed Apache Jack, who finished a short-head behind the second, said: "I'm very pleased. I thought after he was second to Briar Hill at Naas that this would be the race for him.

"He likes good ground and Barry (Geraghty) went wide looking for some half decent ground and that probably cost him second. We'll go to Punchestown now."



Daryl Jacob has had a Festival to remember for good and bad reasons.

He was a beaten a nose in the Pertemps Network Final on Thursday, much to his chagrin.

His mount Calipto, the 11/2 favourite, in the opening race today, the JCB Triumph Hurdle, finished fourth after one of the stirrup leathers broke and he had to ride for the latter stages with his feet out of the irons.

Jacob's luck took a turn for the better when he partnered a first winner of the week for himself and trainer Paul Nicholls in the second race today - the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle - on 11/1 chance Lac Fontana.

Then, going to the start for the third race, the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, his horse Port Melon tried to jump the rails separating the racecourse from the Best Mate Enclosure. Jacob came off and nearly landed on a Channel 4 Racing cameraman before hitting the ground.

He was immediately attended by doctors and paramedics and treated on the spot as the start of the race was delayed.

Channel 4 Racing reported that Jacob wanted to get up but was put on a stretcher.

He was subsequently taken by ambulance to Cheltenham Hospital for further assessment regarding a possible leg injury.



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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