Field Looks Great For County Hurdle
VOB County Handicap Hurdle
Friday’s County Hurdle provides a chance for punters to nail a decent-priced winner, with nine of the last 10 winners having all returned at double-figure odds – and one currently available at 10/1 is Great Field.
Field Looks Great
Willie Mullins’ 5yo comes here with a reputation having won twice in France before scoring on his debut for the yard at Leopardstown recently (2m2f, soft).
The manner in which he quickened that day was impressive, and his ability to act on better ground (in France) puts him in good stead for Friday.
Another positive regarding Great Field’s chances involves his age, as 5yo’s boast the best record in this race going back to 1998, winning on eight occasions. Such a record therefore reads well for Paul Nicholls’ 5yo, All Yours (12/1), who was fifth in last season’s Fred Winter here, before landing a Grade 1 at Aintree (2m1f, good to soft). The concern is that he flopped on his return in November, and has been absent since.
Irish To Give Britain Hell
Alan Fleming’s 6yo, Blue Hell (10/1), has also been absent since November, when he took a valuable handicap at Fairyhouse (2m, soft). While he is progressive and goes well fresh, he’ll need to improve again from a 22lb higher mark.
The chance of an Irish victory is boosted by Charles O’Brien’s Henry Higgins (14/1), who also took a valuable handicap at Leopardstown in January (2m, soft). A 16lb higher mark will make life more difficult, but he has been kept fresh for this and handles good ground.
Will Favourite Make The Cut?
Just over 4l behind Henry Higgins at Leopardstown was the current 9/1 favourite for this, Desoto County. Gordon Elliott’s 7yo has a decent 3-9 record over hurdles, and may have won four races but for getting blocked at Leopardstown. He finished strongly that day and punters have backed him to gain compensation on Friday, assuming he scrapes into the bottom of the handicap.
Also not guaranteed to get into the handicap is Dan Skelton’s 5yo, Superb Story (14/1), who showed improvement at the end of last year. His last outing in November saw him flying into third in the valuable Greatwood Hurdle (2m, good to soft) and he has been put aside for this.
One who should make the cut is David Pipe’s 5yo, Starchitect (14/1), who returns here having finished fourth in last season’s Fred Winter. He showed his wellbeing when beaten 11l into second in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle last month (2m, heavy). He goes on good ground and looks a solid each-way shot.
Squouateur A Name To Note
The final word goes to another of Gordon Elliott’s 5yo’s, Squouateur (14/1), a winner of two decent handicaps the last two times, including at Fairyhouse in February (2m4f, heavy). He is entered elsewhere over further, but is a name to look out for across the four days.
Desoto County is respected and will be a big danger if making the cut, but at this stage, Great Field couldn’t have been more impressive last month and represents each-way value at 10/1.
*Prices correct at time of publication