THE ROAD TO CHELTENHAM: Monalee value alternative to Death Duty in Albert Bartlett

 
Bill Esdaile
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Cheltenham Gallops
TRAINER Gordon Elliott is planning to send over a team of around 30 horses to Cheltenham (Source: Getty)

TRAINER Gordon Elliott is planning to send over a team of around 30 horses to Cheltenham and this week nominated Death Duty in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle as his best chance.

The County Meath handler saddled three winners at last year’s Festival and its clear to see why he is pinning his hopes on the six-year-old.

Unbeaten in all four starts over hurdles this campaign, the son of Shantou looks to be crying out for this step up in trip to three miles, but looks plenty short enough at 9/4 with 188BET on potentially better spring ground.

I’m prepared to take him on with Henry De Bromhead’s MONALEE who looks to have slipped under the radar at around 14/1.

Admittedly, my selection was well beaten by Death Duty at Naas two starts back and meets the favourite two weeks today on worse terms.

However, that was over half a mile shorter trip and Monalee looked a different proposition stepped up to three miles last time.

Being a son of Milan, he is likely to improve for better ground, not just handle it.

If you haven’t backed a winner come the Grand Annual Chase, the final race of the meeting, fear not as DANDRIDGE can go one better than last year at 12/1.

Read more: Road to Cheltenham: Get the Champagne ready for a right Royal celebration

He caught the eye with a nice prep run over hurdle last time and has been dropped a few pounds by the handicapper after three moderate chase runs this campaign.

This race looks sure to have always been the plan and trainer Arthur Moore and Davy Russell have teamed up in the past to land some memorable gambles.

I’d be amazed if he doesn’t start half his current price or shorter come the day.

POINTERS

Monalee e/w 14/1 Albert Bartlett

Dandridge e/w 12/1 Grand Annual

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