A highly-competitive handicap hurdle race, the County Hurdle is a fascinating betting heat on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, and the market regularly changes throughout the season. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on horseracing.net for expert views and analysis on the 2020 County Hurdle as the picture becomes clearer.
The latest odds for the County Hurdle will be listed below just as soon as they become available.
County Hurdle Tips
Tips for the 2020 County Hurdle will appear here.
What is the County Hurdle?
The County Hurdle is a handicap hurdle race on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival, Gold Cup Day, run over two miles and 179 yards. The race was traditionally the final race of the festival, but was switched to the second race on the card in 2009.
The history of the County Hurdle
The County Hurdle was established in 1920, and has built up a reputation of being a difficult puzzle for punters to solve, something shown by the fact that only one outright favourite has won the race this century. The race was named in honour of legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien between 1995-2016. Since 1992, the sponsors of the Imperial Cup have offered a bonus for any winner of the race who can follow up at the festival the following week, something which was won by the Martin Pipe-trained Blowing Wind in 1998.
What happened in the 2019 County Hurdle?
The 2019 County Hurdle was full of familiar names, including the previous year’s winner, Mohaayed, and the 2018 Triumph Hurdle runner-up Mr Adjudicator. Both failed to hit the frame, and it was left to two more familiar names to fight out the finish, Ch’tibello and We Have A Dream. The latter had largely progressed from his juvenile campaign the season before, but found the cunningly-campaigned Ch’tibello too strong in the finish, who capitalised on a lenient-looking mark to return to winning ways for the Dan Skelton team.
Who is the most iconic winner of the County Hurdle?
A particularly memorable winner of the County Hurdle was the Philip Hobbs-trained Rooster Booster, who won the race back in 2002. Although he was a regular in some of the top handicap hurdle races, Rooster Booster was something of a late bloomer, making the breakthrough on the big stage when winning the County as an eight-year-old. Having held his own in Grade 1 company when fourth in the Aintree Hurdle on his next start, Rooster Booster continued on an upward trajectory the following season, winning his first five starts of the campaign, culminating in the 2003 Champion Hurdle. Rooster Booster went close to sealing back-to-back wins in the Champion Hurdle, finishing second in the 2004 renewal, and his final start came when finishing down the field in the 2005 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham - before being given a well-deserved retirement.
Are there any trials for the County Hurdle?
There are no specific trial races for the County Hurdle, though there are some regular routes which contenders take to the race, with the most obvious being the previous week’s Imperial Cup at Sandown - with a bonus available for any horse able to win both races. It is also useful to keep an eye on valuable handicap hurdle races throughout the season, such as the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Who is the most successful jockey in the County Hurdle?
The most successful jockey in the County Hurdle (since 1946) is Ruby Walsh, who has ridden the winner of the race on four occasions, courtesy of Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Final Approach (2011).
Who is the most successful trainer in the County Hurdle?
The joint-most successful trainers in the County Hurdle (since 1946) are Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins, with four wins each. Mullins’ four wins in the race came courtesy of Thousand Stars (2010), Final Approach (2011), Wicklow Brave (2015) and Arctic Fire (2017), while Nicholls’ wins were with Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006), American Trilogy (2009) and Lac Fontana (2014).