Ante-post markets, by the very definition of them, can be huge victims of recency bias. This year’s Albert Bartlett market has the look of one that has been caught up in the merits of the recent trials for the race.
The likes of Latest Exhibition, Monkfish, Harry Senior and Ramses De Teillee have all been cut on account of their recent impressive winning performances. I get that, and fully agree that they are all worthy contenders. But I just have the feeling that the best horse in the race has been slightly forgotten about, as we haven’t seen Thyme Hill since winning the Challow Hurdle at Christmas time.
Yes, he is market leader (joint in places), but I have a strong feeling that he should be clear favourite and a touch shorter in the betting. So, I suggest getting stuck in at 5/1, or 9/2 with the NRNB concession. There is a chance he could re-route to the Ballymore if the ground was heavy and/or Envoi Allen and stablemate Sporting John were to themselves re-route to the Supreme. So, it could make sense to take the NRNB price.
Granted a clear passage and ground that isn’t bottomless, there isn’t a horse in the field that has the class, stamina and battling qualities that Thyme Hill possesses. A running-on third in last season’s Champion Bumper, when mixed in with a course win over hurdles and a ready Grade 1 win in the Challow, and you have a heady combination.
Having pinned my colours to the Challow Hurdle form-line, then I can’t believe that the horse that gave Thyme Hill a real race, The Cashel Man, can be backed at 50/1 with Bet365 NRNB for the same race.
A very high-quality staying horse on the flat, who handled undulating tracks like Goodwood, Lingfield and Newmarket on the level, he was also only beaten just under five lengths in a Cesarewitch. He made Thyme Hill work very hard on that occasion, and is completely unexposed over a proper staying test over hurdles.
The Cashel Man has only one entry at the Cheltenham Festival, is trained by a man tinged with genius when it comes to getting horses to peak for the meeting, and on the evidence of his handicap hurdle romp at Newbury at the start of the season, goes extremely well fresh. That we haven’t seen him since he chased home Thyme Hill is certainly no negative.