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County Hurdle 2021 Racecard

The County Handicap Hurdle falls on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival, usually known as Gold Cup day. First run in 1920, it was traditionally the meeting’s curtain-closer. It is still run on the fourth and final day, but following a reshuffle of the schedule in 2009, it has been moved from being the last race, to being the second.

1:55 Fri 19 Mar COUNTY HURDLE

Distance: 16f 179y Age: 5yo + Prize: £75,000 Going: Gd/Sft

Analyst's Verdict

Fiendishly-competitive stuff with a punt taken on STRONG GLANCE. Olly Murphy's charge shaped encouragingly initally this term and, on the back of two ready jumpers bumper victories he's worth chancing to prove a mark of 131 lenient. Thyme White should come forward for his Betfair Hurdle run and is respected along with Eclair de Beaufeu. You Raised Me Up and Ganapathi complete the shortlist.

ENTRY
FORM
SILKS HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
1
jockey silks 1. PETIT MOUCHOIR (FR)
J: Jordan Colin Gainford
T: Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
10
11-12
* *
* *
Front runner who is 10 now but confirmed he's still capable of useful form when third to Sharjah over Christmas. Not disgraced in Fairyhouse Grade 3 latest but he's vulnerable to unexposed sorts here.
2
jockey silks 2. GLOBAL CITIZEN (IRE)
J: David Bass
T: Ben Pauling
9
11-7
* *
* *
Smart front-running hurdler who landed Grade 2 Wayward Lad Chase prior to a creditable fourth in last year's Arkle. Failed to complete both starts this season and back hurdling after wind op now.
3
jockey silks 3. CAYD BOY (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: Miss Elizabeth Doyle, Ireland
6
11-6
* * *
* * *
Bumper/maiden hurdle winner who progressed further when scoring on handicap debut at Down Royal (16.5f) in October. Good second at Fairyhouse in November and may have even more in his locker.
4
jockey silks 4. EDWARDSTONE
J: Tom Cannon
T: Alan King
7
11-5
* * *
* * *
Back to winning ways in a small-field handicap in January and ran another cracker when third in the Betfair Hurdle on his latest outing. No reason why he won't go well again in this groove.
5
jockey silks 5. DARASSO (FR)
J: J. J. Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
8
11-4
* * *
* * *
Established as a smart hurdler/chaser but unable to make an impact in graded contests in recent months. Possible the switch to a handicap will help him. Blinkered/tongue tied now.
6
jockey silks 6. BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP
J: D. E. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-4
* * *
* * *
Talented mare who has plenty of solid form in big-field handicaps (fourth in this race last year). Added trio of mares listed events to her tally this term but more recent exploits not so inspiring.
7
jockey silks 7. DROP THE ANCHOR (IRE)
J: S. D. Torrens
T: P. A. Fahy, Ireland
7
11-3
* * *
* * *
Bumper winner who arrives on the back of a career-best effort over hurdles, landing 22-runner Leopardstown handicap (2m) last month, getting on top late on. Demands of this race should suit.
8
jockey silks 8. LE PATRIOTE (FR)
J: C. M. Leonard
T: Dr Richard Newland
9
11-2
* * *
* * *
Smart hurdler on his day who landed pair of small-field novice chases last year. Struggled in Clarence House at Ascot and unseated at Warwick since. Below last winning mark back over hurdles.
9
jockey silks 9. CHAMPAGNE GOLD (IRE)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
6
11-1
* * * *
* * * *
Off the mark in Wexford maiden (16.6f) in October and improved further since, third in a Grade 3 prior to being reeled in late on by Drop The Anchor at Leopardstown (2m) last month. Claims once more.
10
jockey silks 10. THIRD TIME LUCKI (IRE)
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
6
11-0
* * * *
* * * *
Fourth in last year's Champion Bumper and enhanced good record over hurdles with comfortable Kempton success on Boxing Day. Undone by bad mistake at Musselburgh since but he remains with potential.
11
jockey silks 11. MENGLI KHAN (IRE)
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
8
10-13
* * *
* * *
Landed small-field minor events over hurdles/fences in Ireland last summer but well held on yard debut at Ascot (18.8f) in December. Fit from pair of jumpers bumper efforts but others appeal more.
12
jockey silks 12. YOU RAISED ME UP (IRE)
J: D. J. O'Keeffe
T: Martin Brassil, Ireland
8
10-12
* * * *
* * * *
Low-mileage hurdler who boasts back-to-back maiden/novice hurdle victories this season, latterly on return from 5 months off at Naas (19f) in February. Interesting contender back in a handicap.
13
jockey silks 13. WOLF PRINCE (IRE)
J: Robbie Power
T: Gavin Patrick Cromwell, Ireland
5
10-11
* * *
* * *
Enjoyed a productive spell as a juvenile, winning twice and finishing second in Grade 1 at Leopardstown 13 months ago. Placed on 2 of 4 starts this term but his mark may be a sticking point here.
14
jockey silks 14. THYME WHITE (FR)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
5
10-11
* * * *
* * * *
Well held in Fred Winter last term but back on track to score on return at Chepstow (2m) in October. Unseated next time (going well) and went well for long way in Betfair Hurdle since. Sound claims.
15
jockey silks 15. MILKWOOD (IRE)
J: Robert Dunne
T: Neil Mulholland
7
10-11
* * *
* * *
Low-mileage hurdler who would have gone close with a clear run when third of 9 at Newbury (2m) in November. Midfield effort in Betfair Hurdle was respectable and may yet have more in his locker.
16
jockey silks 16. CIEL DE NEIGE (FR)
J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
10-11
* * *
* * *
Useful hurdler who belatedly opened his account in a Limerick maiden (2m) in December. Not at best at Leopardstown (2m) since though, and well beaten in this race 12 months ago. Cheekpieces go on.
17
jockey silks 17. GANAPATHI (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
10-11
* * * *
* * * *
Landed Cork maiden hurdle (2m) in November and improved to find only one too good in Gr. 2 Moscow Flyer next time. Better than distance beaten suggests over further since and this rates more suitable.
18
jockey silks 18. ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU (FR)
J: J. W. Kennedy
T: Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
7
10-10
* * * *
* * * *
Posted a career best when runner-up in last year's Grand Annual and last month's Leopardstown sixth over hurdles was an encouraging display. One to be positive about from this sort of mark.
19
jockey silks 19. SAINT D'OROUX (FR)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
5
10-9
* * *
* * *
Hurdles winner who ran a cracker when third in last year's Fred Winter. Plenty of good efforts this time around, third behind Drop The Anchor at Leopardstown latest and he's a solid each-way player.
20
jockey silks 20. GOWEL ROAD (IRE)
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
5
10-8
* * *
* * *
Well-bred sort who has improved with each start, cashing in off 15 lb lower mark at Newbury (2m) in January and following up in novice back there last month. Cheekpieces go on and has more to come.
21
jockey silks 21. GETAWAY GORGEOUS (IRE)
J: B. J. Cooper
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
10-7
* * *
* * *
Bumper winner who doubled hurdles tally in a mares' novice at Punchestown (16.6f) in September. Fine second on handicap debut later that month but not so good subsequently.
22
jockey silks 22. ANNA BUNINA (FR)
J: C. P. McNamara
T: John McConnell, Ireland
5
10-6
* *
* *
Fairly useful hurdler who wasn't disgraced when fifth in a listed mares hurdle in December. Fit from spins on the Flat more recently but this is a tough ask back in a handicap.
23
jockey silks 23. FIFTY BALL (FR)
J: Joshua Moore
T: Gary Moore
6
10-6
* * *
* * *
Dual French bumper winner who is going the right way over hurdles, finding only Soaring Glory too strong in the Betfair Hurdle latest. Up further 4 lb but further progress distinctly possibility.
24
jockey silks 24. CAPTAIN KANGAROO (IRE)
J: B. Hayes
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
10-2
* * *
* * *
Successful sole bumper start and hit the frame all 4 starts over hurdles, runner-up behind Hurricane Cliff at Naas in February. Interesting connections pitch him in here for handicap bow.
25
jockey silks 25. STRONG GLANCE
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Olly Murphy
8
10-2
* * * * *
* * * * *
Fairly useful form when placed in handicaps during the autumn and possible heavy ground caught him out in the Greatwood. Back on track with jumpers bumper victories of late and mark remains workable.
26
jockey silks 26. BELFAST BANTER (IRE)
J: K. C. Sexton
T: Peter Fahey, Ireland
6
10-0
* * *
* * *
Off mark over hurdles in 2m maiden at Galway in October and similar form when 8 lengths second in a Naas Grade 2 last month. Mark remains a fair one.

Betting Forecast : 15/2 7.5 GANAPATHI, 9/1 9 THIRD TIME LUCKI, 14/1 14 YOU RAISED ME UP, 14/1 14 ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU, 16/1 16 FIFTY BALL, 16/1 16 CHAMPAGNE GOLD, 18/1 18 DROP THE ANCHOR, 22/1 22 CIEL DE NEIGE, 22/1 22 THYME WHITE, 22/1 22 GOWEL ROAD, 25/1 25 EDWARDSTONE, 25/1 25 CAYD BOY, 28/1 28 DARASSO, 28/1 28 BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP, 28/1 28 SAINT D'oroux, 33/1 33 MENGLI KHAN, 33/1 33 STRONG GLANCE, 33/1 33 GETAWAY GORGEOUS, 40/1 40 PETIT MOUCHOIR, 40/1 40 LE PATRIOTE, 40/1 40 GLOBAL CITIZEN, 40/1 40 MILKWOOD, 40/1 40 CAPTAIN KANGAROO, 40/1 40 WOLF PRINCE, 40/1 40 BELFAST BANTER, 66/1 66 ANNA BUNINA

The County Hurdle is a Grade 3 race open to horses aged five years and over, and like the preceding race on the Friday card, the Triumph Hurdle, it is raced on the New course, over a distance of just under 2 miles and 1 furlong, and features eight hurdles.

Being a handicap, horses competing in the County Hurdle are subject to a graded system of weights, according to form, age and sex.

In theory, this means a more level playing field and increased competition, allowing less accomplished horses a better chance than they might otherwise have.

The top weight is usually 11 stone 12 pounds, although the bottom weight can vary depending on the strength of the competitors.

As a Grade 3 handicap, the County Hurdle is of a more accessible standard than many of the elite races during the Festival, which makes it a popular race for stables of all sizes in their quest for a Festival win.

Consequently, it usually features in excess of 25 runners, with a record field of 30 going to post in 2005.

The large field also makes it a formidable race for bettors, albeit often a lucrative one for those lucky enough to pick a winner (being a handicap of more than 15 runners, bookies will also pay out on four places at a quarter of the odds, as standard).

Since the turn of the millennium, only one favourite and two joint-favourites have been victorious in the County Hurdle, during which time six horses have won at odds of 20/1 or greater.

Between 1995 and 2016, the race was known as the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle, in honour of the great Irish trainer who retired in 1994, having recorded a total of 23 Cheltenham Festival victories – though none of them came in this race.

Unusually for a race with such a long CV, that is not restricted to horses of a specific age, there have been no multiple winners of the County Hurdle in its entire 99-year history.

Its most famous winner this century is probably Rooster Booster Philip Hobbs’ popular grey gelding, who won in 2002, and went on to finish first and second respectively in the 2003 and 2004 renewals of the Champion Hurdle, all under jockey Richard Johnson .

The title of most successful trainer in the County Hurdle is jointly-held at present, and will likely be contested for a number of years yet, given both parties are still very much at large in the National Hunt sphere.

Willie Mullins , who trained Thousand Stars (2010), Final Approach (2011), Wicklow Brave (2015) and Arctic Fire (2017), and Paul Nicholls, who trained Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest ( 2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Lac Fontana (2014) both have four wins apiece. The 2019 success of Ch’tibello provided Dan Skelton with a third win in the race.

Ruby Walsh is the jockey with the most wins, also with four – two of which were achieved in conjunction with Wilie Mullins: Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Final Approach (2011).

Special mention should also be given to Jonjo O’Neill , who achieved the feat of winning the race both as a jockey, with Path of Peace (1982) and Jobroke (1986), and again as a trainer with Master Tern (2000).

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County Hurdle 2022 FAQs

What is the distance of the County Hurdle?

2 miles and 179 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the County Hurdle?

8

What day of the festival is the County Hurdle?

Day 4

What time is the County Hurdle?

14:10

What weights are carried for the County Hurdle?

As it is a traditional National Hunt handicap hurdle, weights range from 11 st 12 lb for the top weight, to 10 st for the bottom weight.

What is the purse for the County Hurdle?

£100,000 (2019)

Who is the leading jockey in the County Hurdle?

Ruby Walsh

Who is the leading trainer in the County Hurdle?

Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls, with four wins apiece

Who won the County Hurdle?

You can check out our County Hurdle results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the County Hurdle?

Click the link to visit our County Hurdle Odds Comparison page.

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CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN 2022

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HORSE SEARCH

CHELTENHAM RACES 2022

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

38% George Rooke's strike rate on favourites (rides OWEN LITTLE)
;