Kings Palace Eyeing Cheltenham Crown

Two-time Cheltenham winner Kings Palace has established himself as the favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival next month.

Bet365 make him the 11/4 market leader in the racing betting after some eye-catching performance this season.

The six-year old did not make the best start to his hurdles’ career though, as he fell on his debut at Ayr when going off at racing odds of 4/6. He made an error two flights from home when in contention to score in the race eventually won by Ballybogey.

Trainer Daivd Pipe opted to give his novice a rest until October when he brought him back into action. He broke his maiden over hurdles at Fontwell with a narrow victory over Kaki De La Pree.

Later that month, he got his first taste of Cheltenham where he relished the testing track to prevail by 18 lengths.

That performance at Prestbury Park prompted connections to step their mount up in class and he returned to the same course to win a Grade Two there in December.

2013 Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill is Kings Palace nearest challenger in the betting at 4/1 with bet365.

Willie Mullins’ mount has won all three of his hurdles tests this season. He broke his maiden at Wexford when starting at odds of 1/9.

The six-year old was then able to get a Grade One under his belt at Navan where he only had to beat Azorian to land the contest.

His price was cut again following his third victory at Naas in early January when Ruby Walsh partnered him to a two length victory.

Champion jockey Tony McCoy won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last year on board At Fishers Cross. He is likely to ride for the same connections once again with Captain Cutter.