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County Hurdle 2022 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.

2:10 Fri 18 Mar COUNTY HURDLE

Distance: 16f 179y Age: 5yo + Prize: £100,000 Going: Gd/Sft

Analyst's Verdict

Unsurprisingly, claims can be made for a host, including Nigel Twiston Davies' I LIKE TO MOVE IT. Already a 3-time winner over hurdles, he improved again and shaped really well when second in the Befair Hurdle latest, going down by a short head. This stiffer test will suit and he earns the vote. Irish raiders Top Bandit and State Man are next best, ahead of West Cork and Surprise Package.

ENTRY
FORM
SILKS HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS
1
jockey silks 1. CALL ME LYREEN (IRE)
J: Mr R. James
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
11-12
* * *
* * *
Low-mileage 6-y-o who belatedly returned to pick of his form from last spring when landing 27-runner Liffey Handicap at Leopardstown last month. However, more on his plate from 14 lb higher mark here.
2
jockey silks 2. MY MATE MOZZIE (IRE)
J: Kieren Buckley
T: Gavin Patrick Cromwell, Ireland
6
11-6
* * *
* * *
Useful hurdler, who scored twice prior to a fine second in Gr 1 Royal Bond in November, a late error costing him. Best to overlook last month's Leopardstown run and more to come now handicapping.
3
jockey silks 3. TRITONIC
J: A. P. Heskin
T: Alan King
5
11-5
* * *
* * *
Well-served by strongly-run race that tested stamina when landing valuable Grade 3 handicap at Ascot (15.7f) in December. Not so good ridden positively in Betfair Hurdle since but each-way claims.
4
jockey silks 4. BALLYADAM (IRE)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
7
11-4
* * *
* * *
Useful novice hurdler who finished well held second in last year's Supreme. Didn't look a natural over fences late last year and he's run poorly twice over hurdles subsequently. Bit to prove now.
5
jockey silks 5. FELIX DESJY (FR)
J: J. W. Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
9
11-3
* *
* *
Successful twice over fences during 2020 but winless last year and he's become increasingly temperamental, dropping away quickly in a Gowran Grade 3 last month. Hard to warm to.
6
jockey silks 6. DYSART DIAMOND (IRE)
J: Jack Foley
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-3
* * *
* * *
Never threatened in last year's Coral Cup but scored twice thereafter, including mares' listed event (18f) in November. Creditable third in Quevega Hurdle but this a tough ask from career-high mark.
7
jockey silks 7. FAIVOIR (FR)
J: Bridget Andrews
T: Dan Skelton
7
11-3
* * *
* * *
Very useful, prolific winning hurdler last season who quickly reached a similar level over fences, winning twice. Latest third in Morebattle Hurdle another solid display but this clearly deeper.
8
jockey silks 8. FIRST STREET
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
5
11-2
* * * *
* * * *
Well-regarded 5-y-o who cashed in off 10 lb lower mark at Kempton (2m) in January and enhanced his profile when third in Betfair Hurdle last month, rallying. Possible he has even more in his locker.
9
jockey silks 9. CASK MATE (IRE)
J: Denis O'Regan
T: Noel Meade, Ireland
9
11-2
* * *
* * *
Maiden/novice hurdle winner who ran up to best when second in Gr 2 WKD Hurdle in October. Shaped as if needing Leopardstown return behind Call Me Lyreen last month but this another tough ask.
10
jockey silks 10. I LIKE TO MOVE IT
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
5
11-2
* * * * *
* * * * *
Useful dual bumper winner and similar standard when landing first 3 starts over hurdles. Not seen to best effect at Ascot next time but ran a cracker to finish second in Betfair Hurdle. Shortlisted.
11
jockey silks 11. JESSE EVANS (IRE)
J: Sean Flanagan
T: Noel Meade, Ireland
6
11-2
* * *
* * *
Progressive hurdler who finished fourth in Galway Hurdle in July. Fit from success on Flat, he ran below best when ninth in Greatwood Hurdle but freshened up since.
12
jockey silks 12. FAROUT (IRE)
J: B. Hayes
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
11-2
* * *
* * *
Maiden/novice hurdle winner who has reached a useful level, third in Future Champions Grade 1 Novice at Leopardstown in December. Well held back there last month but switch to handicaps a plus.
13
jockey silks 13. WEST CORK
J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
8
11-1
* * * *
* * * *
Fine advert for trainer's skills when making winning return from 21-months off in Greatwood Hurdle here in November. Went well for a long way at Ascot in December and mark remains an appealing one.
14
jockey silks 14. IRASCIBLE (FR)
J: B. J. Cooper
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
7
11-1
* * *
* * *
Lightly-raced 7-y-o who was a well-beaten fifth in last year's Supreme. Possible first start for 12 months was needed at Fairyhouse in February but others make more appeal in any case.
15
jockey silks 15. STATE MAN (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
11-1
* * * *
* * * *
Highly promising ex-French gelding who looked likely winner when falling 2 out in Leopardstown maiden before easily gaining compensation at Limerick last month. Very exciting prospect for handicaps.
16
jockey silks 16. COLONEL MUSTARD (FR)
J: Conor Orr
T: Mrs Lorna Fowler, Ireland
7
11-0
* * *
* * *
Didn't need to match previous best when landing a Galway maiden (16.4f) in October but quickly back to useful level with placed efforts in graded company at Ascot/Leopardstown. Can go well again.
17
jockey silks 17. SUPRISE PACKAGE
J: K. C. Sexton
T: Peter Fahey, Ireland
6
11-0
* * * *
* * * *
Had been shaping well in Ireland and, played wide and late, he forged clear to land Imperial Cup at Sandown (2m) on Saturday. Has to be worth a look under a penalty and yard won this 12 months ago.
18
jockey silks 18. TOP BANDIT
J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6
10-13
* * * *
* * * *
Fairly useful in bumpers and impressive start over hurdles during the winter, making it 3 wins from 4 starts with minimum fuss in Punchestown novice (15.8f) in December. More to come now handicapping.
19
jockey silks 19. CORMIER (IRE)
J: Sean Quinlan
T: Brian Ellison
6
10-13
* * *
* * *
Tough, dependable sort who dispelled his Greatwood Hurdle blip when landing a C&D handicap in January and followed up in Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso (2m) 2 weeks ago. This is tougher, though.
20
jockey silks 20. GUA DU LARGE (FR)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
6
10-11
* * *
* * *
Kapgarde gelding who boasts a mixed record but he resumed progress with big-field handicap success at Fairyhouse (2m) 18 days ago, responding well under pressure. That may not prove his limit.
21
jockey silks 21. ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU (FR)
J: Jordan Colin Gainford
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
8
10-10
* * *
* * *
Boasts good Festival form, running another fine race when fourth in this race 12 months ago. Has yet to fire over hurdles/fences this term but lurking on good mark if return to this venue perks him up
22
jockey silks 22. TAX FOR MAX (GER)
J: S. F. O'Keeffe
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
10-9
* * *
* * *
Smart Flat winner who has finished runner-up on 3 of his 4 starts over hurdles, again proving too keen behind Farout at Galway back in July. Well-run race should suit now handicapping at least.
23
jockey silks 23. BUA BOY (IRE)
J: Denis Hogan
T: Denis Hogan, Ireland
7
10-9
* *
* *
Dual hurdles winner who returned with pair of solid placed efforts last summer. Not in same form when well beaten in the Greatwood but should strip fitter for his Leopardstown run 12 days ago.
24
jockey silks 24. BROOMFIELD BURG (IRE)
J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
T: Nicky Henderson
6
10-8
* * *
* * *
Low-mileage sort who doubled hurdles tally in a Kempton novice (2m) on Boxing Day. However, could manage only seventh in Betfair Hurdle (sent off 11/4) and it's possible he's a little tricky.
25
jockey silks 25. STEPNEY CAUSEWAY
J: Jack Andrews
T: Dan Skelton
5
10-8
* * *
* * *
Quickly reached a useful level over hurdles last term, winning 4 times. Didn't kick on from chase debut second in 2 subsequent starts in that sphere and tough to pull off front-running tactics here.
26
jockey silks 26. TEMPO CHAPTER TWO (IRE)
J: D. E. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
10-8
* * *
* * *
Improving by the run for Willie Mullins, quickening up nicely to get off the mark in a Fairyhouse novice (2m) in February. Pitched in to a deep handicap now but he's totally unexposed.

Betting Forecast : 13/2 6.5 STATE MAN, 9/1 9 TOP BANDIT, 11/1 11 WEST CORK, 14/1 14 COLONEL MUSTARD, 14/1 14 SUPRISE PACKAGE, 16/1 16 I LIKE TO MOVE IT, 18/1 18 MY MATE MOZZIE, 22/1 22 CORMIER, 22/1 22 FAROUT, 22/1 22 CALL ME LYREEN, 22/1 22 FIRST STREET, 22/1 22 BROOMFIELD BURG, 25/1 25 JESSE EVANS, 28/1 28 TRITONIC, 28/1 28 GUA DU LARGE, 40/1 40 CASK MATE, 40/1 40 ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU, 40/1 40 IRASCIBLE, 40/1 40 DYSART DIAMOND, 40/1 40 FAIVOIR, 40/1 40 BALLYADAM, 40/1 40 TAX FOR MAX, 40/1 40 TEMPO CHAPTER TWO, 50/1 50 STEPNEY CAUSEWAY, 66/1 66 FELIX DESJY, 66/1 66 BUA BOY, 498/1 498 BALKO SAINT, 499/1 499 UP FOR PAROL

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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CHELTENHAM RACES 2022

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

65 The number of OASIS DREAM's progeny that have won on flat debut (Sires GREEN ZABEEL)
;