County Hurdle Tips: Skelton hoping its Third Time Lucki

County Hurdle Tips: Skelton saddles Third Time Lucki
County Hurdle Tips: Skelton saddles Third Time Lucki

County Hurdle Tip

Third Time Lucki at 7/1 with William Hill.

The challenge of trying to spot which horse has the most in hand on their official mark can be the most rewarding when finding a winner. Some handicaps can be easily solved, others take a little bit more effort. Then there’s the County Hurdle, in a different stratosphere to most, where a large number of 26 strong field would have had this aim for their horses for most of the season.

One trainer who has taken a liking to plotting a path to this race is Dan Skelton, successful in this race in 2016, 2018 and 2019. He throws one dart at this renewal and Third Time Lucki looks to be in with a huge chance. A winner of three races this season, he has been impressive in all those victories, as well as being placed in Graded company at this track. His last run was a little below his usual form, but the handicapper relented 1lb of his rating, putting him in with an outstanding chance.

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Willie Mullins as won the other three renewals since 2015 and it’s then no surprise that he saddles the market leader and the pick of Paul Townend, Ganapathi. Having been successful on his first attempt over hurdles, Mrs Donnelley’s charge got thrown straight into graded company, a bold move that nearly paid off with him going down a gallant second to Dreal Deal. His latest run in a Grade 1 was probably a step too high up the ladder for him at this stage and he was well beaten but that looked to be a high-class piece of form and a mark of 140 must underestimate him still and he can hit the frame. 

His other four runners are all double figure prices, including Captain Kangaroo, who is still a maiden. This would be some race to break it in after five attempts but his hurdle form has been getting stronger when beating by subsequent winners on every occasion, including a Grade 3 winner on his penultimate effort and his rating of 125 could have leniency in it. 

Next in the market is You Raised Me Up for Martin Brassil. Despite winning his last two in, they have come in open company rather than handicaps and given he was beaten off a mark of 125 earlier on in his career, his mark must be too high now racing off 136. 

An intriguing contender hailing from ‘Sneezy’ Foster’s Cullentra House is Eclair De Beaufeu. He was second in last year’s Grand Annual and looked likely to progress over fences before a fall prompted connections to switch back to hurdles. His first start back over timber also saw him fail to complete but has since managed to get round twice and his latest effort looked for all the world that his effort in the Ladbroke Hurdle in Ireland was a ‘quiet’ run to get him spot on for this. 

The 1-2-3 from that race also take each other on again in Drop The Anchor, Champagne Gold and Saint D’oroux. The winner has been given a 10lb hike in the weights and that must make life harder, despite his jumping having from for improvement. Henry De Bromhead has had a golden week and the second from Leopardstown lines up again and given the nature of this race, he could benefit from hitting the front a little later and promises to get that here. They were a fair way clear of the third, who looks like being in the grip of the handicapper. 

Of the rest of the English challenge, Goshen’s connections will be hoping for some recompense with Betfair Hurdle second Fifty Ball. He travelled a touch keenly throughout on that occasion and couldn’t get to the winner and now looks exposed. Edwardstone was third that day but is a horse still on the upgrade and could have more improvement in him, especially returned to Cheltenham where the hill is often beneficial to him in the finish.

Of the rest, Gowel Road beat a well-regarded recruit last time in novice company and his mark could be lower than what he ends up running off in the future, while Cayd Boy is lightly raced and may not be at the peak of his powers just yet.

Plenty are in with a good chance here and it is a certain race to throw up hard luck stories. Eclair De Beaufeu just looks to be the best of the Irish ahead of Ganapathi and Drop The Anchor, while Edwardstone, Gowel Road and Fifty Ball are others that need consideration. However, Dan Skelton can never be ignored in this contest and after a victory at the weekend, Harry Skelton gave an interview at Sandown and with a glint in his eye and a cheeky smile on his face, put up Third Time Lucki as his best chance of the week. From a team that knows exactly what it takes to win this race, how can that be ignored?

Fri 13:55 - County Hurdle
Third Time Lucki silk

Third Time Lucki

Cheltenham Gold Cup Runners
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