Festival hope Hiddenvalley Lake bids to book Albert Bartlett ticket

Leading Cheltenham Festival contender Hiddenvalley Lake follows a tried and tested route for Henry de Bromhead in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel on Thursday.

The Knockeen handler first claimed the Grade Three prize in 2017 with the top-class Monalee before he went on to finish second to Penhill in the Albert Bartlett the following month.

De Bromhead made it back-to-back wins at Clonmel 12 months later with Chris’s Dream, while in 2019 his subsequent Gold Cup hero Minella Indo filled the runner-up spot behind Allaho before reversing that form to strike Festival gold.

Shantreusse was unable to make an impact in the Albert Bartlett after scoring at Clonmel last season, but hopes are high Hiddenvalley Lake can cement his claims for the showpiece meeting by making it three from three over hurdles.

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“He’s a lovely horse and we’re looking forward to running him in Clonmel,” said De Bromhead.

“He won well in Cork and looks a real stayer.”

Hiddenvalley Lake was a £200,000 purchase for owners Robcour after being carried out on his sole appearance in the point-to-point sphere.

He made a winning debut under rules at Naas in November before successfully stepping up in class and distance to lift a Grade Three prize over three miles at Cork the following month.

The son of Sholokhov is the 4-1 favourite with Sky Bet for the Albert Bartlett ahead of his attempt to give weight and a beating to seven rivals in County Tipperary.

Willie Mullins has a good record in Thursday's Clonmel feature
Willie Mullins has a good record in Thursday’s Clonmel feature (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

His biggest threat appears to be Corbetts Cross, who makes his first appearance for Emmet Mullins after winning a point-to-point, a bumper and two novice hurdles for Eugene O’Sullivan.

De Bromhead has a second string to his bow in the form of Monty’s Star, while Willie Mullins – whose seven previous winners of the race include three subsequent Festival winners in Cooldine (2008), Don Poli (2014) and Allaho – relies on recent Cork winner Walk In The Brise.

Search For Glory (Gordon Elliott), Granny Lowrie (Pat Doyle), Kalanisi Dubh (Seamus Fahey) and Farceur De Sivola (John Ryan) complete the field.

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