Cheltenham County Handicap Hurdle
County Handicap Hurdle betting verdict
A large field for this handicap could see Dirar share his hand and some useful form on the flat recently. Gordon Elliott has his stable in fine fettle although this horse is unraced on the Prestbury turf. Therefore, it could pay to shade with ALAIVAN who can continue the good record of horses aged six in this contest. His biggest threat could stem from Via Galilei who looks a progressive type for Gary Moore and is on an upward curve. Get a free £25 bet with William Hill.
All conquering Paul Nicholls
Another one of those handicap races which are ever so difficult to call, and this one is certainly up there with the Pertemps Final Handicap and the Fred Winter from a betting angle. Twenty-eight ran in the contest last years and the first four placing were all filled by horses priced 20/1 bar. This goes to show that market confidence in this race should be taken with a pinch of salt and despite the huge Irish gambles that take place, those from across the water do have a poor record in this hurdle. But the ever present Paul Nicholls’ record isn’t quite so bad. He is the leading trainer for this country handicap readying winners in 2004, 2006 and more recently in 2009. Ruby Walsh took all three rides and they cannot be ruled out once again.
The race, which honours retired Irish racehorse trainer Vincent O’Brien, has seen the younger horses perform better than their older rivals in the past decade. Five and six-year-olds have won six of the last eight runnings of this event and one might conclude that older horses have lacked the stamina to see out the two miles and a bit trip. But Pedrobob was an exception to this trend when he won by a length in 2007 as a 9yo gelding. The fluctuation in past results means the form guides for this race are uncertain to pinpoint a potential winner. An improving consistent sort could prove a good place to start when scouring down the card for the County Handicap Hurdle. The large field means there will be plenty of avenues to explore, it’s just picking the right one!
Perhaps, a little sigh of relief for those favourite backers in this race though – three market leaders have won this since the turn of the millennium. The last of those was in fact Paul Nicholls’ Desert Quest in 2006 who went of 4/1 joint favourite. But will the 2011 Handicap Hurdle go to one of those at the head of the market or will another blockbuster price winner send the bookies into delirium?
County Handicap Hurdle free bets
Bet 365 – The biggest free bet offer during Cheltenham is from Bet 365 who are offering £200 in free bets. The free bets are awarded after your first, fourth and twentieth bets. This is a great offer for those who are planning to bet on lots of Cheltenham races.
Victor Chandler – One of the biggest names in online betting (you’ve probably seen the TV advert with Paddy Mcguiness) is offering a free £25 matched bet during Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Festival free bets
Click here for a full range of Cheltenham free bets from the UK’s biggest and best online bookmakers
*Click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches