Cheltenham Festival Fancies: Extended trip puts this Mullins runner in the Albert Bartlett picture

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GRAEME Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns with his Festival Fancies series as he lines up another March punt.

Cheltenham Festival Fancies | 14-17 March 2017

The countdown to Cheltenham continues and after yet another weekend of clues we still have more questions than answers regarding a lot of the top races at the meeting.

This week I’m taking a look at the Albert Bartlett and I think a Mullins inmate may have thrown her hat in the ring this weekend.

Let’s Dance is just five years old but she already has Festival experience when she was fourth in last seasons Triumph Hurdle. She came from France with a big reputation, however it took a while for her to translate her potential into success on the track.

Grade 1 prize money

Sent off odds on to win her maiden she was beaten by eventual Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov and on her next three starts she picked up prize money in Grade 1 juvenile hurdles. Steadily progressing with each start she finally broke her maiden in May meaning she’s still eligible for novice hurdle races in the Spring.

Given the summer off she returned looking as good as ever and has now completed a four timer culminating in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown on Sunday. There looked to be plenty more in the locker that day and I feel she will improve for a step up in trip too.

Step up in trip

Connections haven’t committed her to a race however her owner Rich Ricci seemed to indicate a step up in trip was in order and that this was her likely Festival target. She was not far off Grade 1 level over 2 miles and looks a major player here. She has form on all sorts of ground and there are no concerns on that front come March.

Death Duty is the likely favourite and has been very impressive so far and Gordon Elliott regards him as a future Gold Cup contender. He may win this however his odds are cramped and at this stage he doesn’t appeal as an ante-post selection.

I’m backing Let’s Dance for this as if she turns up in the race I expect her to be around half her current odds. Unfortunately she is not assured to take her place but I’m more than willing to take a chance on that she will line up on the Friday of Cheltenham week.

Graeme Johnston’s Festival Fancies

Albert Bartlett – Let’s Dance to win (14/1 Betfair)

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I grew up watching Hearts games with my dad and playing football at every opportunity so betting on it was the logical next step! Football coupons became a Saturday ritual and it introduced me into the world of horse racing. I started watching it on a regular basis, and after Galileo's Derby win in 2001 I was hooked. I follow both flat and national hunt racing attending the northern meetings when possible.

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