The County Hurdle is one of the most historic handicap races at the Cheltenham Festival. This Grade Three is open to all hurdlers, and is run over a distance of two miles.
The race was first run in 1920, some four years before the Gold Cup. Some even saw the Gold Cup as the lead-up race to the County Hurdle, which was the feature race on day four during the 20s and 30s.
The Country Hurdle has produced many high-calibre horses down the years. 1985 County Hurdle winner, Floyd went on to win plenty of Graded honours, including two victories in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Willsford won the 1989 County Hurdle, before going on to collect the Midlands Grand National and Scottish Grand National during his time over fences.
Philip Hobbs' Rooster Booster won the 2002 renewal of the County Hurdle. Rooster Booster then returned to the Cheltenham Festival 12 months later and won the Champion Hurdle
Paul Nicholls has trained four winners of the County Hurdle since 2004, with his most recent triumph coming in 2014 with Lac Fontana.
The last six renewals of this handicap have been shared between William Mullins and Dan Skelton.
Skelton trained his first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2016, when Superb Story won the Country Hurdle. In 2018, Bridget Andrews rode Mohaayed to victory for Skelton, before Dan's brother Harry guided Ch'tibello into the winners' enclosure the following season.
Willie Mullins' is the most successful trainer in County Hurdle history, having saddled the winner five times.
Mullins' most recent success came in 2020, when well-backed favourite, Saint Roi defeated stablemate Aramon to hand Mullins a 1-2-4 in the County Hurdle. There was a big shock in the 2021 County Hurdle, as 33/1 outsider Belfast Banter headed a finish of roughiess