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2.05 County Hurdle

Paul Nicholls has been the handler to watch out for in recent renewals of the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle, a race which honours the legendary Irish trainer, who claimed 23 Cheltenham Festival triumphs before going on to great things on the Flat.

The master of Ditcheat has saddled Sporazene (2004), Desert Quest (2006) and American Trilogy (2009) to victory, while Willie Mullins has also done well, prevailing with Thousand Stars (2010) and Final Approach (2011).

The last-named handler also sent over last season's runner-up Tennis Cap, who only found Tony Martin's fellow Irish raider Ted Veale too good up the hill.

With eight hurdles to be jumped over a distance of 2m 1f, David Pipe's expensive French import Dell' Arca has been popular with ante-post punters since landing the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November after being bought for 280,000euros a few months earlier and again caught the eye when second in the Betfair Hurdle.

Cheltenham Festival Friday - 14th March 2014

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle

2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

3.20 Cheltenham Gold Cup

4.00 CGA Foxhunter Chase

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase

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