Vincent O Brien County Hurdle Tips : Ted Spread and Raya Star look ones to beat at Cheltenham

A cavalry charge of the most electrifying proportions would be the best way to describe the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle. Run in the memory of the legendary Vincent O’Brien, who recorded 23 victories as a trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, including four Gold Cups, three Champion Hurdles, 10 Supreme Novices’ Hurdles, the race is widely regarded as one of the most competitive but exciting handicaps of the Festival.

It is run over the minimum distance of two-miles and has a habit of producing dramatic finishes along with plenty of hard-luck stories, with horses very likely to find trouble in running due to the bulky size of the field.

Despite the potential traffic problems it has paid to follow horses that have been held up in the race over the past few seasons. The early pace can be so frenetic that prominent horses are likely to fall in a hole in the final few furlongs; this theory came to fruition again last season when Final Approach landed the race for Ireland.

For many of the purists last year’s renewal of the prestigious handicap was one of the most gripping races of the entire 2012 Festival. Despite the 26-runners, the finish was fought out between AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh, the two most gifted jockeys of their generation.

Vincent O Brien County Hurdle Tips

The Paul Nicholl’s trained Ted Spread looks the one to beat at an attractive price of 14/1. Don’t forget, use a free bet saver – take advantage of an increased free bet of £100/€100 from Paddy Power for all visitors of to spend on any race at Cheltenham! Claim here!

It was the masterful Walsh that urged the Willie Mullins trained-Final Approach to nail the McCoy ridden Get Me Out Of Here right on the line. His narrow defeat was the second year in a row that the JP McManus-owned performer had been defeated by a nose at the Festival, following his extremely agonizing defeat in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the hands of Menorah.

Final Approach kept up the good run of five-year-old’s in the race as he became the eighth winner from the last 13 runnings over the event.

The Betfair Hurdle (formerly the Totesport Trophy) at Newbury is usually the race to pay the most attention to when analysing the form for this prestigious handicap. It has produced four of the last eight winners.

This year’s winner Zarkandar is all set for the Champion Hurdle, but the third, Raya Star should take up his entry in the handicaps, with the County Hurdle looking his most likely destination. He currently leads the ante-post markets for trainer Alan King, who has never won this valuable prize. The five-year-old won The Ladbroke Hurdle in nice style before going on to finish third at Newbury and still looks a horse whose mark probably hasn’t peaked yet.

Paul Nicholls has a fabulous record in the race, saddling three of the last eight winners, and he looks to be taking this year’s renewal seriously again and could run the well handicapped Ted Spread.

The former Flat star, who won the Chester Vase as a three-year-old, made a mockery of his handicap mark on his debut, strolling clear by seven lengths at Taunton. He has been hiked up to a mark of 135 now but that may not stop his progression. It looks likely he will run in the Imperial Cup at Sandown before heading to the Festival – if Nicholls’ charge can win both races then Paddy Power will boost his winnings with a £75,000 bonus.

Nicholls also has another couple of intriguing runners at the head of the betting, most notably Rock On Ruby, who finished second behind Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle.

However, no County Hurdle winner has carried more than 11st 8lbs for 52 years and he would certainly be top weight if taking up his engagement.


Over 10 years in football analysis and online publishing with articles featured in a number of different publications.

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