Cheltenham Countdown: Nolan prefers Bartlett option for Latest Exhibition

Cheltenham Countdown: Nolan prefers Bartlett option for Latest Exhibition

Paul Nolan is “99% sure” that Latest Exhibition will run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle next month rather than the Ballymore.

The seven-year-old took his record over timber to three wins from four outings at Leopardstown on Saturday, with his only defeat having come over two miles at the hands of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fancy Abacadabras.

He landed his first Grade One at the weekend, over two and three-quarter miles, and proved in the process he does not need the mud to be flying.

“We’re pleased with how he’s come out of the race,” said Nolan.

“He’s been in the paddock for a couple of days and looks fresh and well.

“That would have been the quickest ground he’s encountered so far - which answered another question - and we were very pleased with how he knuckled down.

“He made a couple of small mistakes - but you couldn’t say his jumping wasn’t good, so he’s learning all the time.”

As for his Cheltenham target, Nolan confirms the three-mile race is strong favourite ahead of its shorter alternative.

“At this stage, I’d expect it would be the Albert Bartlett,” he said.

“You can never rule anything out - but I’d say it’s 99 per cent sure it will be the Albert Bartlett.”

Latest Exhibition’s latest success indicated stamina is not lacking.

“It looked like being a three-way battle - but in fairness to him he pulled away and won by two lengths, and in another furlong it looked like he’d have won even further,” added his trainer.

“Maybe he wouldn’t (have) - he’s a horse who just does enough really. (But) the Albert Bartlett tends to be won by horses he race behind the bridle, not the flashier type. It didn’t do (subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner) Bobs Worth any harm, winning the Albert Bartlett.

“I wouldn’t have thought the ground will be as quick at Cheltenham as it was on Saturday.

“Leopardstown is level - so we were happy for him to take his chance - but because Cheltenham is undulating, they always make sure it is very safe.

“There’s no point complicating things - unless it was bottomless ground, I think we’ll be heading for the Albert Bartlett, but we’ll keep options open just in case.”

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