The County Hurdle is a top-drawer handicap hurdle race over the two miles and half a furlong where only the best rated horses qualify for their place in the line-up.
It was traditionally the Festival finale until 2009 before it moved to its new slot of the second race on Gold Cup day.
During this Grade 3 handicap run on the new course, runners face eight hurdles in all and the pace is usually frenetic.
Willie Mullins has who has won the race five times in the last eleven years. His were a Thousand Stars (2010), Final Approach (2011), Wicklow Brave (2015), Arctic Fire (2017) & Saint Roi (2020).
|When:||Friday 18th March, 1.55pm|
|Race Type||Grade 3 Hurdle|
|Where to watch?||ITV, Racing UK, Bookmaker Streams|
|Key Betting Stats:||Seven of the last ten winners were aged either five or six years old.|
A tricky, tight handicap to try and solve, with a fast pace and the two mile trip around here, things are sure to be extremely fast, and because of that, the race usually contains a few hard luck stories when you look back.
As the Cheltenham Festival draws closer, we will update this page with our full betting preview, the latest odds for the race and any other key info that punters need before they place their bets.
What Happened in the County Hurdle 2021?
Belfast Banter, trained by Peter Fahey and ridden by Kevin Sexton, won the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle on the final day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. After jumping the last in fourth place, the six-year-old came home strongly in the final 100 yards to win at odds of 33/1 with Petit Mouchoir 1¼ lengths back in second. Belfast Banter went on to win the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle at the Aintree Festival a few weeks later.
County Hurdle Winners
2021 – Belfast Banter
2020 – Saint Roi
2019 – Ch’tibello
2018 – Mohaayed
2017 – Arctic Fire
County Hurdle Betting Odds
The County Hurdle is a top-drawer handicap hurdle that usually attracts a large field and is always a very open betting contest. This year is no different with double-digit prices available on all the runners at this stage. Among the current market leaders are Dan Skelton’s West Cork (10/1) and Willie Mullins’ Kilcruit (12/1) & State Man (14/1).
County Handicap Hurdle Tips
The County Hurdle is a tough handicap race to solve. The horses are weighted according to their form, age, and sex. In theory, this creates a level playing field with all horses having an equal (or at least some) chance to win.
Only one favourite and two joint-favorites have won the County Hurdle since 2000. It certainly pays to look at some of the bigger odds horses in the County with six horses winning at odds of 20/1 or greater in the same time.
- Bet365 NRNB & BOG for Cheltenham 2022 Kilcruit to win at odds of 12/1 claim
- Betfred NRNB for Cheltenham 2022 State Man to win at odds of 14/1 claim
The Closutton master Willie Mullins is the top trainer in this race with five wins so his Kilcruit (12/1) and State Man (14/1) are well worth keeping an eye on in the County Hurdle betting market.
* Betting odds correct at the time of writing
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When is the County Hurdle?
Who won the County Hurdle?
Who is the leading jockey in the County Hurdle?