Rebecca Curtis is enjoying a good season and looks to have a likely sort on her hands for the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival in March, in the shape of At Fisher’s Cross.
The horse’s victory at Cheltenham in January over The New One and Coneygree catapulted the six-year-old to the head of the ante-post market, writes Elliot Slater.
Sent off the 13/2 third-favourite in a quality field of just five for the two-and-a-half mile contest run on particularly heavy ground, the gelded son of Oscar completed a seasonal four-timer when staying-on determinedly on the run from the final flight to eventually forge ahead of The New One (4/5f).
Another previously unbeaten hurdler, Coneygree, was left behind in the closing stages and trailed some 12 lengths back in third.
It came as no surprise to see betting firms reshape their ante-post markets for Cheltenham 2013 following the well contested affair, with At Fisher’s Cross being promoted to 5/1 clear favourite for the three-mile ‘Albert Bartlett’, having been available at up to 16/1 before his fine win.
Coneygree, who ran below the expectations of his trainer, Mark Bradstock, drifted from 8/1 to 14’s, but his jockey, Mattie Bachelor, is convinced that the very heavy ground failed to suit his charge and that he will be a different proposition next time out on a better surface, which could well come as soon as Haydock on February 16.
The New One’s connections have taken the view that he will be better served by the half-mile shorter trip of the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle, for which he is also a 5/1 shot in the ante-post market.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge was also meeting his first defeat over hurdles but certainly went down with all guns blazing.