Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

This novice hurdle - a Grade One event since 2008 - has produced some cracking Irish winners in its short history

Saturday, March 05, 2022
Very Wood Cheltenham Festival

Powering up the hill, Very Wood was a surprise winner of this race in 2014 for jockey Davy Russell

This three mile novice hurdle was introduced when the Cheltenham Festival moved to a four-day meeting and has held Grade One status since 2008.

Tony McCoy won the race three times, including a famous battling victory on Wichita Lineman in 2007, one of Cheltenham's most dazzling and dramatic finishes.

Vanillier, 2021



The day after stablemate Flooring Porter powered to Stayers' Hurdle success, Vanillier secured the novice equivalent for trainer Gavin Cromwell in style.

The race was open coming down the hill, with the much-fancied duo Stattler and Fakiera right in contention, but Mark Walsh stepped on the accelerator around the bend and flew over the last, eventually winning by 11 lengths.


Monkfish, 2020

The hard-fought wins can be the sweetest, and that's what that famous duo Paul Townend and Willie Mullins enjoyed with Monkfish in 2020.

Battling Latest Exhibition, a sight we would come to see much more in future races, Monkfish just had enough to see off Paul Nolan's stable star by a nose.

Penhill, 2017

Penhill came from way off the pace to come out on top in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on a famous day of Irish domination in 2017.

Owned by the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, Willie Mullins's charge powered up the hill to win by three and a half lengths under jockey Paul Townend.

One year later Penhill became a double Cheltenham winner with success in the Stayers Hurdle - despite having just one race between Festivals. 

Very Wood, 2014

Trained by Noel Meade, Very Wood sprang a huge 33-1 surprise to put his trainer back in the winners' enclosure at the Festival after a five-year gap.

Paul Carberry took the ride, the 40-year old showing the young guns how it’s done in a fighting finish.

"I know Ruby (Walsh), AP (McCoy) and Barry (Geraghty) always say they are expected to win, but I've come up with a shock, and a good one," said a delighted Carberry following the victory. 

READ: Festival throwback: Relive Irish success in the Triumph Hurdle

Weapon's Amnesty, 2009

Limerick trainer Charles Byrnes has a reputation as a handler the bookmakers fear, with Weapon's Amnesty just one of his big race winners.

Davy Russell piloted him to success on his Cheltenham debut in this race, just edging out Ruby Walsh on favourite Pride of Dulcote on the line.

Twelve months later, he won again as Russell guided him to a confident success in the RSA Chase. 

READ: Relive Irish success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Check out our Road to Cheltenham microsite with the best of the Irish challenge at the Festival

I know Ruby (Walsh), AP (McCoy) and Barry (Geraghty) always say they are expected to win, but I've come up with a shock, and a good one.
- Paul Carberry after his win on Very Wood