1.55 County Handicap Hurdle

Friday 18 March | Age: 5yo+ | Prize: £100,000

The County Handicap Hurdle was first run in 1920 and 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.

Voice of Value's Tips

Well if you thought the Coral Cup and the Kim Muir were tricky handicaps, you aint seen nothing yet.

Thankfully there are lots of extra places on offer and one firm is going 8 (EIGHT) places each way (although their prices aren't as competitive) so if we can't get one in the frame we are in the wrong game.

I'll go for two selections in the race although I could also make a case for a few others including Third Time Lucki, Ciel De Niege and You Raised Me Up.

A good judge that I know has suggested that GOWEL ROAD might be a live one at a big price and I agree. He looks a bit of a lunatic to me, pulling hard, drifting off a straight line and wandering around a bit last time out.

However, he showed good battling qualities to fight back and win that day after being headed and I think that sort of quality is essential in a horse, particularly if you are looking for one to run well in a big handicap like this. He also has some experience in handicaps which is crucial for this race.

The pace of the race should suit him and allow him to settle better and I think he can go well in a race where novices or second season novices have a great record. He might be a drifter as the money comes for the Irish horses so back him with one of the firms going Best Odds Guaranteed (Ladbrokes, Bet365, Coral).

My top selection though is ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU for the Denise Foster yard (standing in for Gordon Elliott). He was a good second last year at the festival in the Grand Annual and now returns to hurdling off a considerably reduced mark, giving him a stone in hand based on his chase rating.

If he can run to his chase mark here he will walk all over them.  He has jumping issues at times but the strong pace will force him to concentrate and if he can get round I can't see him being out of the top 6.

Voice of Value's County Handicap Hurdle Tip

  • Eclair De Beaufeu 1.5pt ew at 12-1 with Bet365 (6 places and BOG)
  • Gowel Road 1pt ew at 16-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral (both 6 places and BOG)
Alan Thomson's Tips

The four JP McManus-owned runners deserve close inspection. CAYD BOY has been off the track 110 days but form figures 112212 from six outings points to a prominent each-way run at big odds.

He landed a competitive handicap at Down Royal in October before posting a gallant second to Advanced Virgo at Fairyhouse, attempting to concede a massive 22lb to the winner.

Drop The Anchor was a neck away in third and should also go well in the McManus silks. He is well held by Cayd Boy at the weights but landed the Ladbrokes Hurdle from re-opposing Champagne Gold at Leopardstown last month.

Willie Mullins fields five of the 26 runners and the market points to Ganapathi. He moves into handicap company on the back of a respectable Leopardstown fifth to Bob Olinger, brilliant winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday, and has a lovely 10st 11lb racing weight to carry.

Captain Kangaroo, runner-up in two maidens at Naas, also goes handicapping off a light weight.

Martin Brassil has wrapped You Raised Me Up in cotton wool since his third in last year’s Ladbrokes Hurdle. Two subsequent victories at maiden/novice hurdle level have helped preserve his handicap mark and You Raised Me Up would not be a surprise winner.

Thommo's County Handicap Hurdle Tips

JCB Triumph Hurdle Racecard
Distance: 2m 179y
Type: Hurdle
Class: 1
Track: Turf
No
Silks
Runner
1
Petit Mouchoir
5-23352

10
Third Time Lucki
4-11214

12
You Raised Me Up
2253-11

14
Thyme White
210-1U9

4
Edwardstone
26-5U13

17
Ganapathi
125

24
Captain Kangaroo
1-4322

16
Ciel De Neige
220-519

13
Wolf Prince
12-0220

26
Belfast Banter
312562

22
Anna Bunina
112475

21
Getaway Gorgeous
212580

20
Gowel Road
2411

9
Champagne Gold
42-2132

23
Fifty Ball
1-32112

25
Strong Glance
328R11

15
Milkwood
32-1430

3
Cayd Boy
1/122-12

7
Drop The Anchor
6F-1B31

6
Buildmeupbuttercup
511160

18
Eclair De Beaufeu
12-FF06

11
Mengli Khan
641722

19
Saint D'Oroux
3-93323

2
Global Citizen
7/414-PP

8
Le Patriote
0-1316U

5
Darasso
0-42433

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