County Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips

County Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips

The two-mile, one-furlong track on the New Course is well used early on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Triumph Hurdle being swiftly followed by the ever-popular County Hurdle.

Inaugurated in 1920, this famous old event has always been a major betting race. 22 are set to line up this time around, taking on 8 flights of hurdles for a share of the £100,000 prize pot.

After the talk of Langer Dan’s controversial win this week, the Skelton’s are looking for another repeat as their 2023 winner Favoir goes again.

Whether you believe the handicap system is fair game to be played or whether laying horses out for races such as this is classed as skullduggery, we all seem to disagree. What we do know is that it makes it harder for us trying to second guess what level each horse is truly at.

In any event we’ve used all the information available to us to narrow this particular field down to these six contenders:

Main Contenders


Willie Mullins, Danny Mullins and Rich Ricci team up with Bialystok which makes him the kind of horse you’d expect to see at a short price.

After failing to win in four hurdle races in a row it seems the handicapper may have this one right, while he was also a faller last time.

A closer look however reveals that in fact Bialystok was brought down in a very strong race at Leopardstown two from home when going easily. Had he gone on to win, he would likely have been 8-10lbs higher in the weights for this race so he is well treated and could get compensation.


Favoir is another horse Dan Skelton is aiming at back-to-back festivals wins. In this case, he’s not been treated in quite the same was as Langer Dan but he is still in with a big chance.

Fifth to Iberico Lord in February, he was a tad unlucky not to win the Imperial Cup just six days ago and he is flying right now. If he’s fit enough to do himself justice, he has a major say in this contest.


Gary Moore’s runner probably won’t get as many headlines as most today but he is a viable each-way proposition.

Off the track since finishing behind Luccia over Christmas, he had to content with good ground there and he’d argue he was better the time before on rain-softened turf.

King Of Kingsfield 

King Of Kingsfield is bringing some class into this race, though he’s not at the very top of the weights which is encouraging.

Though second on all of his first three hurdle starts, the latter was at Grade 1 level. He inexplicably was not favourite for his maiden after that, which he won easily, while last time out he was beaten 14 lengths but that was in another Grade 1 behind Ballyburn and Slade Steel, tip-top form. A mark of 140 won’t be the thing that stops him.

L’Eau Du Sud

Despite the chances of Favoir, Harry Skelton has opted to ride l’Eau Du Sud and it’s easy to see why.

We can talk about class, stamina, ground preferences and the like, but the most important thing of all is weight and it’s L’Eau Du Sud who is easily the best handicapped horse in this race.

He hasn’t won yet for Skelton, but that doesn’t matter. He has improved on each and every start save for his pulling up in the Greatwood, and was narrowly beaten by Iberico Lord last time out.

His form is spot on and we reckon with more to give, he is dangerously treated at the weights.

Petit Tonnerre 

One for the McManus camp here, Petit Tonnerre trained by Jonjo O’Neill. Form wise, this seems like a mostly reliable sort though not one who is massively well handicapped.

In any event, a solid run can be expected all in all which at around 25/1 offers each-way backers some good value.


There are some interesting angles to consider in this year’s County Hurdle. Favoir is as tough as anything and it wouldn’t surprise us if he gave this a major go in search for back-to-back wins in the event.

Bialystok was looking all class before coming down at Leopardstown, but at the weights it’s clear that L’EAU DU SUD has an outstanding chance and can be backed to score for the Skeltons who so far have had a very good week indeed.

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