• Hands Heels

County Hurdle

There’s two I like for this race, that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere. First up is one who will definitely get in, the second isn‘t guaranteed to get a run but has a mark that in recent years been enough to sneak in to the race.

Firstly, Colonel Mustard is one who I backed for any race Ante Post, but it looks like he will be running here if anywhere. Still a novice this year, he was third in a grade two and second in a grade one hurdle, both won by Echoes in Rain last season. He won his maiden hurdle on seasonal reappearance before running a 2 length second to Jonbon, beating the high-class Knappers Hill, Elle Est Belle and I Like To Move It who was a neck 2nd in the Betfair hurdle. He was crazily dropped in the weights after that run, to a rating of just 140. Connections did still mention the Supreme as the target after that, but he was then beaten behind Sir Gerhard at the Dublin Racing Festival, and thankfully they seem to now favour this race. The run behind Sir Gerhard was actually quite positive for me, finishing third, he pulled 41 lengths clear of graded winner, My Mate Mozzie. Even further back was Royal Bond winner, Statuaire. I was expecting the UK handicapper to raise him about 5lbs to a mark of 145, but he was left on his mark of 140, which is more than fair. Now 20/1 with the extra places, I would advise backing him now if you didn't already.

Gringo D’aubrelle, 25/1, if getting in, will be my next selection. He’s one I had on my early festival shortlists over a year ago, and I actually put him up for the Bartlett, but he is a lot speedier than I expected being by Saddler Maker. Outstayed on hurdles debut by Blazing Khal over 2 and a half miles, I felt it was disappointing at the time, but that horse was the Albert Bartlett favourite before getting injured and in hindsight was actually a decent first run. He then went back into a bumper over 2 miles, winning easily by 10 lengths. Back over hurdles, he got his head in front beating a good horse in Adamantly Chosen, who I was originally considering for this race. Adamantly Chosen recently won a maiden by 27 lengths himself and is 14/1 for this race with a mark of 142, 7lbs higher . The third, Ash Tree Meadon won a maiden and has been given a mark of 136 for the Martin Pipe. On the face of it you could argue that Gringo Daubrelle being given just 135 is a massive oversight considering the fact he beat the pair of them. You'd expect then, that he had run poorly since, but in fact a pair of places in Grade One and then Grade Two Company. The grade one third was over two and a half miles where he finished 10 lengths off Ballymore hopeful, Stage Star. The trip seemed to stretch him and next time he dropped down in trip to the Grade Two Moscow Flyer over 2 miles. No match for runaway winner and Supreme prospect, Dysart Dynamo, he pulled 30 lengths clear of the rest and was the only horse who seemed to cope with the frantic pace set that day. I think he's much better than a 135 rated horse, and so long as he gets in, has a brilliant chance.

Colonel Mustard - Any Race - 14/1 0.5pts each way (27/12/2021)

Colonel Mustard - 20/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (NRNB)

Gringo Daubrelle - 25/1 0.5pts each way 5 places (NRNB)

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