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CountryHurdle Tips

Key Trends:

  • Ran between five and 16 times over hurdles – 10 winners in 10 runnings
  • Started no bigger than 16/1 – 9/10
  • Ran in the last 35 days – 9/10
  • No previous festival form – 9/10
  • Top-four finish last time out – 8/10
  • Carried no more than 11st 1lb – 8/10
  • Finished first or second in at least 40% of starts that season
  • Aged five to six – 7/10

Nicky Henderson’s DAVE'S DREAM is just the sort of progressive young hurdler who wins this race and he must go well here with just a 5lb penalty for winning Saturday’s Imperial Cup. He’s due to go up 18lb in the ratings for future engagements, so he’s effectively 13lb well in here, and given the impressive style of his Sandown win, this looks a great opportunity for him to win at the festival – and pick up a tasty £75,000 bonus for connections!

5/1 is generally available but it makes sense to back him with Ladbrokes at that price as they’ll give you a free bet to the same stake on the next Cheltenham race – the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.40)

Next in the betting is the Jonjo O’Neil-trained Sunnyhillboy (8/1 Victor Chandler), the mount of Tony McCoy. He too has a very progressive profile, winning his last three starts, but hasn’t raced since winning at Sandown in December. Considering that he was doing all his best work late on that day, he might have been better suited to the Martin Pipe race over further, but he’s undoubtedly well-handicapped.

Venetia Williams has already had a winner at the festival and her Aachen (9/1 Totesport) will be fancied by many to give her another. However, he does have 11st 7lb to carry and, with just three hurdle runs under his belt (all in low-grade novices), he might not be street-wise enough for the hurly-burly of this race.

The Irish contingent is strong and while Sky Hall (20/1 bet365) is worth a mention, I’m more confident that Raise Your Heart (14/1 Coral) has what it takes to put himself in the money. The six-year-old has been trained with this race in mind by Joanna Morgan, and he looks on a fair mark of 137 after beating smart hurdler Made In Taipan (who has done well over fences since) a length in a listed hurdle at Punchestown in October. Furthermore, he has a high cruising speed and a decent turn of foot, so I'll be surprised if he’s not in the frame.

Recommended Bets:

Dave’s Dream 2pts 5/1 Ladbrokes (don’t forget your free bet if he wins!)
Raise Your Glass 1pt each way @ 14/1 Coral

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CountryHurdle Tips

Nicky Henderson’s Dave's Dream is just the sort of progressive young hurdler who wins this race

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