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Cloudy Copper value alternative to Albert Bartlett market leaders

Market leaders Ballycasey and At Fishers Cross are unproven in graded company and on going better than Soft respectively, making this year’s Albert Bartlett a wide-open contest. Further down the betting Aaim To Prosper and Cloudy Copper make plenty of appeal.

Long-time ante-post market leader Ballycasey has yet to compete at graded level. Considering all eight previous winners of the race had competed at Grade 2 or higher (with six of those eight victorious at that level) this looks a major gap in his CV.

Conversely At Fishers Cross has seductive top-level form having outstayed The New One and Coneygree on heavy ground in a Cheltenham Grade 2 over 2m5f in January.

However, handler Rebecca Curtis recently suggested some ease in the underhoof conditions would suit her charge, who she has yet to race on ground better than soft during an eight-race career.

With question marks over the chances of the market leaders it could pay to galnce further down the betting in search of those with strong claims.

A cobbler could easily go through their entire  working life without meeting a pair of old boots as tough as Aaim To Prosper, who won the none more-stamina-sapping 2m2f Cesarewitch handicap on the flat for the second time this summer and having got off the mark over hurdles on his first try at 3m he could be a dark horse for Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls.

In that Doncaster contest he kept finding off the bridle to fend off Cockney Trucker, who had looked to be have plenty in reserve, up the finishing straight and was going away at the death.

The fact that Cloudy Copper hails from Jonjo O’Neill’s Jackdaws Castle yard is a major vote of confidence in his chances in itself. The trainer has had just two runners in this race since it came into existence with both victorious.

Unbeaten in two runs under rules, the six-year-old scored over an extended 3m at Kempton last time and with just five other runners in the field having similarly proved their ability to win over the Albert Bartlett trip his staying power will stand him in good stead.