Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s County Hurdle antepost picks

Are Ruby and Frank on to a winner with their picks?

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The County Hurdle is the penultimate handicap at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and it looks a wide-open field ahead of final declarations. Paddy Power are offering non-runner money back on all 28 races at this year’s meeting so there’s no risk in losing out if your pick withdraws.

Paddy’s resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby Walsh enjoyed plenty of success in this race over the years with four winners. He joined forces with our trader Frank Hickey to run the rule over the potential runners for the latest episode of our special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast series.

You can listen to the full show BELOW.

RUBY WALSH

I had more more luck in the County Hurdle going fast coming from off the pace. I rode horses that wanted a bit further and that’s what’s pushing me towards GANAPATHI. He was second to Dreal Deal at Punchestown over 2m, fifth behind GAILLARD DU MESNIL over 2m 6f at Leopardstown so stamina’s not an issue for him. Willie Mullins could run him in a novices’ race but it’s hard to see him winning one of those. I’d be hoping he’d run in one of the handicaps but you can’t guarantee that would happen.

I can see BLUE LORD running in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and SALDIER taking up his engagement in the Champion Hurdle. CIEL DE NEIGE was second in the Betfair Hurdle and won a 2m maiden hurdle so maybe it’s time to try him at a different distance.

GALOPIN DES CHAMPS wants a but further and I think he’ll try his chance in the Martin Pipe. URADEL could get in but FOVEROS and CAPTAIN KANGAROO are unlikely to be good enough. NGOLO will probably run in the Albert Bartlett while TIGER TAP TAP‘s been disappointing so I’d try him a bit further and the same could be said for BLUE SARI who let’s not forget chased home Envoi Allen in the Champion Bumper.

FELIX DESJY has been chasing so coming back to hurdling could happen for him. COEUR SUBLIME, with a rating of 151, could be the one if you can forgive his last start.

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FRANK HICKEY

CADZAND was disappointing in the Betfair Hurdle. THIRD TIME LUCKI will definitely be interesting off a mark of 143. He was fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper and has plenty of experience. He’ll be interesting if he takes his chance.

SOARING GLORY is very well handicapped but I think he’ll run in the SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE.

CIEL DE NEIGE was disappointing last year but came second in the Betfair Hurdle on his last run on good ground. He’s run OK this year with a fifth in a decent Fairyhouse handicap in November and won a maiden hurdle at Limerick. He’s been peaking for this and I expect a much better run that last year. He’s a decent price as well.

Paul Nicholls has enjoyed success in this race but none of his horses will win.

COUNTY HURDLE BET SUMMARY – FRIDAY, MARCH 19

Ruby Walsh – Coeur Sublime

Frank Hickey – Ciel De Neige

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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What do you think?