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County Handicap Hurdle predictions, betting tips, trends and free bets (DAY 4 - March 16, 2018)

  • Written by David Bet
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The County Hurdle (formerly known as Vincent O Brien County Handicap Hurdle) is one of the oldest races at the Cheltenham Festival, a class A grade 3 hurdle for horses aged five and over, run on the Cheltenham New Course over a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong. This race was won last year by Willie Mullins' Arctic Fire at 20/1, under jockey Paul Townend. Find below our Cheltenham 2018 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle race preview, with odds, tips, predictions, trends, free bets and betting promotions.


2018 CHELTENHAM DAY 4 TIPS AND PREDICTIONS 


Are you looking for all the 2018 Cheltenham predictions? Visit our Cheltenham betting tips section here!


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COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE BETTING PREVIEW 

The County Hurdle is one of the most difficult races to back a winner at the Cheltenham National Hunt Racing Festival. It's a Grade 3 National Hunt handicap hurdle race, run over two miles and one furlong, for horses aged five years and upwards. The race always attracts the maximum field, making it full of potentially well handicapped horses, who all will fancy their chances of winning.

Willie Mullins has saddled four of the last eight winners so expect him to have a good chance in 2018 Randox Health County Hurdle once again.

And now we'll take a closer look at this year's County Handicap Hurdle and try to determine which horse is likely to prevail.

IVANOVICH GORBATOV won the Triumph Hurdle from Apple’s Jade back in 2016 and was a big plunge horse for this race last year when he finished a good sixth beaten just three lengths. He’s a couple of pounds lower now.

BLUE ET ROUGE ran an extremely eyecatching race in the Betfair Hurdle where he travelled all over Supreme hope Kalashnikov before seemingly being outstayed on very testing ground.

Last year’s Fred Winter winner FLYING TIGER finished fourth beaten five lengths behind Champion Hurdle contender Elgin in the Kingwell at Wincanton. He won the Fred Winter off 134 and is just 6lbs higher now. He can up his game in this big-field/strong pace scenario and his mark could be lenient.

Willie Mullin's SANDSEND recorded a gutsy performance to take the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas, confirming the promise of a run at Limerick on his first start.

A HARE BREATH turned to hurdles after finishing 7th behind Altior in the Arkle last March. On his first run for six months he came out and won a Listed handicap at Sandown off a mark of 139.

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Dan Skelton’s six-year-old MOHAAYED really struggled on his reappearance in the Greatwood, but results since then have been good. He was narrowly denied victory by Irish Roe in a Class Two Handicap at Doncaster, before crossing the line a six-length third as he locked horns with Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle.

MOON RACER finished down the field in the Betfair Hurdle on his seasonal return at Newbury. Clearly that was a preparation run, and we believe that this horse has plenty of class to show.

DUCA DE THAIX did well to claim a Grade 3 at Christmas, though was a flop in the same grade in January. He is lightly raced and made his handicap debut but was a long way behind Sandsend in a Grade 3 at Naas last time.

Nicky Henderson's JENKINS has won twice at Kempton and Ascot in January. He has gone up a stone in the weights and that makes life difficult for now.

CHESTERFIELD is among the most popular Cheltenham bets. The eight-year-old won at Kempton on early March, which was his first outing since being beaten by 10 lengths by Cheltenham by staple Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle.

SMAOINEAMH ALAINN may well go slightly under the radar given her connections but she is promising after making a faultless start to his hurdles career for Robert Walford, completing hat-trick over C&D in December.

WHISKEY SOUR was a fortunate winner over Christmas at Leopardstown when the pair in front of him both falling at the last to hand him victory. He was far from disgraced when meeting Samcro at the Dublin Festival.

BEN DUNDEE has improved this season and was clear of the rest when runner-up in competitive handicap on penultimate start. Anyway, he runs here 19lbs higher than when he won at Punchestown back in October. That makes life very difficult for him.

BRELADE reverts back to hurdles after an unsuccessful spell chasing. He was 6th in the Neptune Novices' Handicap last year so he has more than a chance on his best form.

MERI DEVIE booked her Cheltenham ticket when bouncing back to form to claim top honours in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown while 2015 Champion Bumper winner MOON RACER enters this contest on the back of two difficult years do to injury problems.

The race looks very open though and the likes of TIGRIS RIVER, LE RICHEBOURG, DIVIN BERE, WILLIAM H BONNEY and STERNRUBIN are among the attracting bets.

The section below contains the most backed entries at the moment:

  • Sportingbet Betting BonusBleu Et Rouge  13.00Bet
  • 10Bet Betting BonusIvanovich Gorbatov 15.00Bet
  • Coral betting bonusFlying Tiger  15.00Bet
  • Boylesports Betting BonusDuca De Thaix  15.00Bet
  • Betfred Betting BonusMeri Devie  15.00Bet
  • Unibet Betting BonusSandsend  15.00Bet
  • Ladbrokes Betting BonusA Hare Breath 17.00Bet

All the bookmakers we recommend are offering No Runner No Bet on every Cheltenham Festival race.

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COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE TRENDS 

  • 6 of the last 10 winners returned 20/1 or bigger
  • Only 1 horse has justified a single figure price in the last 11 years
  • 12 of the last 17 winners were running at the Festival for the first time
  • 11 of the last 14 renewals have been won five or six year olds
  • 14 of the last 15 winners were either a novice or a second-season hurdler
  • 6 of the last 8 renewals have been won by Irish trained horses
  • 19 of the last 23 winners had run at least 4 times that season
  • The last 8 winners have been rated between 131 and 139

COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE PREDICTIONS 

Find below our free betting tips on the Randox Health County Hurdle 2018. Feel free to copy our Cheltenham Festival expert predictions and get the highest prices available on this race by clicking the 'Bet' button! Plus, we invite you to take a look at our NAP of the Day section everyday.

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