The County Hurdle is famous for its association with one of the greatest trainers in the history of the sport. Vincent O’Brien trained three convective winners of the Grand National, 23 Cheltenham Festival winners, 16 British Classics and three Arcs.
The race named in his honour is run over the minimum distance of two-miles and a scorching pace and is a fantastic race to watch, with horses very likely to find trouble in running due to the bulky size of the field. To witness the race signing up to BetVictor is a must.
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All you need to do is sign up to BetVictor and as long as your account is funded, or you have placed a bet on the website within the last 24 hours, you will be able to view all Festival races, wherever you may be.
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After registering, free of charge, of course, you will need to deposit £10 in order to receive the first part of the bet, which is a free £10 match bet to use on any of the Cheltenham Festival markets.
In order to obtain the three parts of the bet, that add up to £100, you need to place a £20 double, a £25 treble and a £25 four-fold, and you will receive that same amount in return to play with as you please.
From a betting point of view this is a race all about the Irish.
Last year’s winner Alderwood was the sixth Irish winner in the last 10 runnings. That pool of horses is only from a 23% representation too, which only adds more confidence behind any Irish challenger.
Causes Of Causes seems to be the Irish horse the punters are expecting to the business this season. He is leading the ante-post betting markets for trainer Gordon Elliot, with firms such as Bet365 offering 12/1 on his chance of landing the spoils.
The five-year-old is probably one of the most improved horses in training and showed it when staying-on powerfully to land The Ladbroke handicap hurdle at Ascot in December, where he beat Petit Robin by four lengths.
In terms of trial races there are two races to keep an eye on in the lead up to the Festival. Seven of the last 11 winners contested either then Betfair Hurdle at Newbury or the Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown.
This exactly revolutionary news as both races are regarded as the two biggest two mile handicaps on either side of the Irish Sea.
The Boylesports.com Hurdle has seen four of the last six winners double up at the Festival, while the Betfair Hurdle has produced four winners since 2002.
Get Me Out Of Here was only a nose away from improving that record in 2011 and Sailors Warn only a length behind in 2012.
Looking out for horses that have been rigorously campaigned over the season also is a thing to consider. Heavily handicapped horses seem to far much better than a potentially well handicapped sort that may have lined up for the race.
Final Approach’s win in 2010 was only the second time that since 1992 that a County Hurdle winner had not run two or more times over hurdles during a season.
Paul Nicholls is certainly a trainer who demands respect with his runners wherever they run but especially this bears fruit in the County Hurdle.
He had won the race three times in the last nine years.