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Cheltenham - Racing: Hillcrest gets Albert Bartlett shot

The progressive Hillcrest has finally had his Cheltenham Festival target confirmed as the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle next Friday.

The seven-year-old is 10/3 for the three-miler, which trainer Henry Daly has decided upon instead of the shorter trip of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on the Wednesday of The Festival.

Fine start

Hillcrest won his first three starts over hurdles this winter at Aintree, Wetherby and at Listed level at Cheltenham before his sequence was halted by an unseating in a Grade 2 back at Prestbury Park in January.

Thankfully, Daly's main Festival hope got the wheels back on his Cheltenham challenge when winning the Grade 2 Prestige Novices Hurdle at Haydock last month over an extended three miles and you can watch how he gets on and all the other Cheltenham action on our Sports Live Streaming platform

Minella Crooner ruled out

Running in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, Hillcrest's task has been made slightly easier in the Albert Bartlett after long time ante-post favourite Minella Crooner was ruled out with injury a few days ago.

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Daly said: "It was fairly obvious after Hillcrest's win at Haydock that he got the three miles, so he should get the same trip at Cheltenham. He's won over two-and-a-half there but this looked like the obvious race."

He added: "We didn't consider which horses would line up. It was all to do with how he came out of Haydock. He schooled on Tuesday and we did a bit with him on Thursday, which went well.

"I had a chat with Mick Meagher [racing manager] last night and that was the decision."

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