0.5pt win West Approach @100/1, Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, Cheltenham 18th March

We’ve been closely following Colin Tizzard’s WEST APPROACH this season, twice backing him at Cheltenham with exactly nothing returned.

It’s his breeding that appeals, as he’s by the same sire as reigning World Hurdle champ Cole Harden and out of the same dam as the ante-post favourite for his crown, Thistlecrack.

He’s regally bred in the staying hurdle ranks, and the career-path of his two named siblings suggests he’s open to any amount of improvement.

Thistlecrack’s form was quite ordinary before bursting onto the scene when running away with a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Aintree Festival last season, and he’s since improved beyond recognition to dominate the division.

Cole Harden’s form in the lead-up to his Championship win was also ordinary, but his class came to the fore when it mattered most.

Unfortunately for West Approach’s claims, he’s only shown glimpses of class on the track, though age is on his side and a fine second to Uknowwhatimeanharry last time out in a Pertemps handicap qualifier was his best performance yet.

That run on desperately heavy ground confirmed him to be a stayer, and it appears his trainer shares my optimism for the horse’s future when giving the media a stable tour of his Cheltenham prospects this week.

He’s a thorough stayer and he qualified for the Pertemps Final when second last week down at Exeter. Richard Johnson remarked that he’d improved again from the last time he’d ridden him. In a way, I’d like to keep this one as a novice for next season but he might just be top class so we might run him in the Albert Bartlett. If he wins that we wouldn’t mind anyway and if he’s fifth or sixth then he’ll remain a novice.” Colin Tizzard

Connections have stuck with the ambitious assignments this season with the Albert Bartlett on Gold Cup day – the Grade 1 staying hurdle title for novices – the clear long-term goal.

Though those trials didn’t yield a win, he does appear to be on the up and the 100/1 quotes for the Albert Bartlett are very tempting indeed.

The qualification for the Pertemps Final gives him options, but if his trainer believes him good enough he’ll run in the big one, and Tizzard’s comments certainly suggest that to be the case.

Worth a nibble at a massive price, then.

0.5pt win West Approach @100/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, Cheltenham 18th March

Leave a comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.