Vincent OBrien County Hurdle

A fast and furious battle for what used to be the closing race of the Festival until 2009. Some punters maybe put off by the large field but this race has been a good race for the backers in recent years with only one recent winner at large odds.

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County Hurdle Trends

10/10carried 11st 1lb or less
10/10ran between four and sixteen times over hurdles
9/10had run at least four times that season
9/10had an official rating between 128-144
9/10returned an SP no bigger than 20/1
8/10last outing was within thirty-six days
8/10were aged five or six
7/10were making their first appearance at the Festival

County Hurdle Analysis

Previous form at a Festival is one of the consistent trends in most of the races at Cheltenham but not for the County Hurdle with just three recent winners having appeared at a Festival before.

Only Fontanesi, Silver Jaro and Thousand Stars had previously run at a Cheltenham Festival and all ran poorly so it would seem that for the purposes of the County Hurdle at least we are looking for horses coming into the environment for the first time.

County Hurdle Last Ten Winners

Table below shows the last ten winners of the race, their age and weight at the time of winning, trainer, jockey and odds (starting price).
2013Ted Veale6-10-6A J MartinB Cooper10/1
2012Alderwood8-11-1T MullinsAP McCoy20/1
2011Final Approach5-10-12W MullinsR Walsh10/1
2010Thousand Stars6-10-5W MullinsMs K Walsh20/1
2009American Trilogy5-11-0P NichollsR Walsh20/1
2008Silver Jaro5-10-13T HoganN Fehily50/1
2007Pedrobob9-10-0T MullinsPhilip Carberry12/1
2006Desert Quest6-10-10P NichollsR Walsh4/1JF
2005Fontanesi5-10-0M PipeT Murphy16/1
2004Sporazene5-10-13 P NichollsR Walsh7/1F

County Hurdle Preview

For a trainer renowned for his three mile chasers it is a testament to Paul Nicholls that he has also been able to train three winners and two seconds in the County Hurdle in the last nine years.

At the SP's of 7/1, 4/1 and 20/1 his supporters in this race are showing a tidy profit but some may have got bigger prices about the first two winners especially.

All of the horses concerned had disappointed slightly at some point in their winning season so if a well fancied Nicholls' hurdler fails to deliver in an early season race, make a note of it and perhaps it may end up in something like the 2014 County Hurdle?

The best trials for this race are the Betfair Hurdle (formerly Totesport Trophy), the Imperial Cup in the UK and the Boylesports Hurdle in Ireland.

Recent County Hurdle winners Thousand Stars and Silver Jaro figured in the equivalent of the Boylesports Hurdle. In 2011 Final Approach won both races and last year's County Hurdle winner Ted Veale finished third at Leoparstown so make that race your first port of call when considering an Irish challenger.

County Hurdle Tips

Jonjo O’Neill’s stable have been in superb form this week and they look to have another likely challenger in the County Hurdle in the shape of ALAIVAN.

The JP McManus owned eight-year-old has finished close up in two previous Festivals; he finished 3rd in the 2010 Triumph and was beaten just over two lengths in the 2011 version of this race when trained by Edward O’Grady.

ALAIVAN was switched to the stables of O’Neill following over eighteen months off the track and his handicap mark has dropped significantly.

ALAIVAN hinted at a return to form when running an excellent race last time out when sixth, beaten just over five lengths, in one of the best trials for the County Hurdle, the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

The stable’s Get Me Out Of Here had a similar profile to this horse in the Coral Cup when failing by the narrowest of margins to win that race and there must be a great chance that ALAIVAN can one better here.

Back ALAIVAN at 16/1 with SkyBet best odds guaranteed (price available at time of writing)

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County Hurdle Odds

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