13:55 - County Hurdle

In the last six years this race has become a match up between Willie Mullins and Dan Skelton, with them sharing the spoils at three a-piece. The Irish trainer sends five runners this year and the market suggests that Ganapathi is the most likely of his quintet to lead the charge, however given he has only raced on heavy ground and has been beaten in his last two so I am struggling to get too excited about his chances.

Ready preference is for Dan Skelton's Third Time Lucki who was fourth in season's Champion Bumper. He posted a solid second here at Cheltenham in December and looked the most likely winner at Musselburgh when last seen before an uncharacteristic error at the last put pay to his chances.He is usually a slick jumper so I’m willing to forgive one mistake and his overall record of three wins from five, all on good-to-soft/soft ground, plus his prior exploits here at Prestbury Park makes me think he has an excellent chance of extending his trainers record in this race.

A mention must also go to Gowel Road who chased home Bear Ghylls on hurdles debut and has made steady progress since, winning his last two in impressive fashion. The latest of these victories came with an excellent five length win at Newbury in February, staying on strongly to beat Good Ball despite giving that rival 9lbs, and if continuing to progress here he would have to be considered for each way purposes.



written by Dean Kilbryde

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