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Cheltenham Festival

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Coral Cup 2021 Racecard

The Coral Cup is a Grade 3 handicap hurdle race, open to horses aged four and older, which is held on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival, which is traditionally the Wednesday. The race is run over a distance of just over two miles and five furlongs (2 miles, 5 furlongs and 26 yards), with ten hurdles jumped by those taking part, and is widely considered to be one of the most competitive races at the entire festival.

2:30 Wed 17 Mar CORAL CUP

Distance: 21f 0y Age: 4yo + Prize: £75,000 Going: Gd/Sft

Analyst's Verdict

Nicky Henderson has won the last two renewals of this and saddles four in his bid for the hat-trick. Comfortably the most persuasive of them is CRAIGNEICHE, who was expertly prepared to make a winning return from a year off in January and his revised mark still underestimates him with this trip promising to suit. Guard Your Dreams and Witness Protection are a couple of many potential threats.

ENTRY
FORM
SILKS HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
1
jockey silks 1. THOMAS DARBY (IRE)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Olly Murphy
8
11-12
* * *
* * *
Runner-up in Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2019. Landed a strong Ascot handicap last term and latest effort in Grade 2 company was solid, but present mark may prove beyond his reach. Cheekpieces on.
2
jockey silks 2. GRAND ROI (FR)
J: J. W. Kennedy
T: Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
5
11-6
* * * *
* * * *
Limerick Grade 2 winner in good style on penultimate start in December. Brushed aside by Bachasson at Naas (15.7f) since but he advanced his form in the process. Handicap debut up in trip.
3
jockey silks 3. KOSHARI (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
9
11-3
* * *
* * *
Looked as good as ever when landing a Cork handicap hurdle on return from a lengthy absence in January. Wasn't seen to best effect at Leopardstown since and this low-mileage 9-y-o needs considering.
4
jockey silks 4. JANIKA (FR)
J: James Bowen
T: Nicky Henderson
8
11-2
* *
* *
Grade 2 winner over fences last term and wasn't disgraced on British hurdles debut here in January 2020. However, he was disappointing in Ascot race won by stablemate Craigneiche on belated return.
5
jockey silks 5. MONTE CRISTO (FR)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Nicky Henderson
5
11-2
* * *
* * *
French recruit who left low-key reappearance well behind when landing a competitive Kempton handicap (21f) in good style on Boxing Day. Up 12 lb for that, but this 5-y-o likely has more to offer.
6
jockey silks 6. BIRCHDALE (IRE)
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
7
11-1
* * *
* * *
Very promising earlier in his career and shaped quite well when eighth in this race off a 2 lb higher mark last year. Chasing didn't really go to plan but he's certainly in the right hands.
7
jockey silks 7. SAYO
J: B. J. Cooper
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-0
* *
* *
Resumed winning ways at Kilbeggan last summer, but hasn't posed a threat in completed starts subsequently and finished out with the washing off a similar mark in this race 12 months ago.
8
jockey silks 8. SAINT SONNET (FR)
J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
6
11-0
* *
* *
Ex-French recruit who made a promising start for this yard over fences last season. Has failed to complete all 3 starts this time round but he is in top hands on this return to timber.
9
jockey silks 9. BOTOX HAS (FR)
J: Joshua Moore
T: Gary Moore
5
10-13
* * *
* * *
Has failed to make a real impact since switched to handicaps, beaten 16½ lengths when sixth to Craigneiche at Ascot last time. However, he's 2-3 here and this stiffer test could be what he needs.
10
jockey silks 10. TEA CLIPPER (IRE)
J: Jonathan Burke
T: Tom Lacey
6
10-12
* * *
* * *
Improved again when bagging a Grade 3 Chepstow handicap in October. Has come up short in 2 subsequent runs (in a jumpers bumper last time) but unwise to think limit has necessarily been reached.
11
jockey silks 11. BURBANK (IRE)
J: Charlotte Jones
T: James Moffatt
9
10-11
* *
* *
Unsuccessful at the last 4 Festivals, but wasn't disgraced when seventh off 3 lb higher in this race in 2018. In good form in jumpers bumpers for new yard this season but this is a different ask.
12
jockey silks 12. CRAIGNEICHE (IRE)
J: Tom Cannon
T: Nicky Henderson
7
10-10
* * * * *
* * * * *
Doncaster maiden hurdle winner last term and big step forward when landing a competitive Ascot handicap (19.3f) in good style on return in January. Up 12 lb, but he remains with serious potential.
13
jockey silks 13. BOREHAM BILL (IRE)
J: Ben Jones
T: Emma Lavelle
9
10-10
* * *
* * *
Right back to form returned to this sphere at Kempton the last twice, placed in 21f handicap in November prior to landing the Lanzarote. Merits respect despite 7 lb rise.
14
jockey silks 14. GARO DE JUILLEY (FR)
J: Felix de Giles
T: Sophie Leech
9
10-10
* *
* *
Hasn't won on these shores since October 2018, but has hit the target twice in France this season, including a listed contest over 20.4f at Pau last month. Doesn't possess the scope of a few of these.
15
jockey silks 15. HEAVEN HELP US (IRE)
J: Richard Condon
T: Paul Hennessy, Ireland
7
10-9
* * *
* * *
Looked better than ever back in this sphere when landing a valuable mares' handicap in first-time cheekpieces at Leopardstown (2¼m) last month. New mark demands another jolt of progress.
16
jockey silks 16. BLUE SARI (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
10-9
* * *
* * *
Looked good early in career, runner-up in the 2019 Champion Bumper. Lightly raced since, running no sort of race on reappearance/handicap debut last month so top connections reach for a tongue tie.
17
jockey silks 17. DYSART DIAMOND (IRE)
J: D. E. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
6
10-8
* * *
* * *
Fitted with a tongue tie and advanced her form when making a winning handicap debut over 2m at Leopardstown in December. Easy to excuse last month's run (hampered) and she has more to offer.
18
jockey silks 18. SNEAKY GETAWAY (IRE)
J: B. Hayes
T: Emmet Mullins, Ireland
8
10-8
* * *
* * *
Useful on the Flat (ran on AW latest) and bright start to hurdles career last year, scoring at Roscommon and Fairyhouse. However, well held last 2 starts in this sphere and cheekpieces now employed.
19
jockey silks 19. PALMERS HILL (IRE)
J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
T: Jonjo O'Neill
8
10-6
* *
* *
Winner of a big-field C&D handicap hurdle in November 2018. Cracking effort at Kempton on sole start last term, but below par in a 2 runs so far this season and he clearly comes with risks attached.
20
jockey silks 20. SHAKEM UP'ARRY (IRE)
J: David Bass
T: Ben Pauling
7
10-6
* * *
* * *
Scored at Ffos Las in November and has continued in good form, 12l eighth to Soaring Glory in Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last time and now back up in trip.
21
jockey silks 21. OUR POWER (IRE)
J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
6
10-6
* *
* *
Landed big-field handicap at Kempton last spring and creditable efforts on first 3 starts of this season, including over C&D in October. Bombed out last time, but he's pretty reliable on the whole.
22
jockey silks 22. SHANG TANG (IRE)
J: Tom Bellamy
T: Emma Lavelle
7
10-6
* * *
* * *
Shaped well until stamina gave way in the River Don (24.4f) and resumed winning ways in clear-cut fashion at Fakenham last month. Revised mark calls for more back in a handicap.
23
jockey silks 23. GUARD YOUR DREAMS
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
5
10-6
* * * *
* * * *
Progressive type who made a winning handicap debut at Sandown in January. Further progress when sixth of 23 in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury (16.3f) since and this step up in trip looks a good move.
24
jockey silks 24. NELSON RIVER
J: Harry Bannister
T: Tony Carroll
6
10-4
*
*
Excelled himself when fourth in the 2019 Triumph. AW winner in January prior to a brace of heavy defeats and he may lack the class and/or stamina back hurdling in a race of this nature.
25
jockey silks 25. DANS LE VENT (FR)
J: Isabel Williams
T: Evan Williams
8
10-3
* *
* *
Better than ever when narrowly landing 7-runner handicap back hurdling following 13 months off at Hereford (19.5f) in December. Brace of fourth-place finishes since confirm he's in good nick.
26
jockey silks 26. WITNESS PROTECTION (IRE)
J: James Best
T: Martin Keighley
8
10-1
* * * *
* * * *
Promise in bumpers and successful twice in novice company this season, latterly strong at the finish at Chepstow in January. More to come in handicaps and return to this sort of trip should suit.

Betting Forecast : 7/1 7 GRAND ROI, 9/1 9 KOSHARI, 10/1 10 CRAIGNEICHE, 16/1 16 MONTE CRISTO, 18/1 18 BOTOX HAS, 18/1 18 GUARD YOUR DREAMS, 20/1 20 THOMAS DARBY, 22/1 22 BIRCHDALE, 25/1 25 SNEAKY GETAWAY, 28/1 28 BOREHAM BILL, 28/1 28 BLUE SARI, 28/1 28 DYSART DIAMOND, 28/1 28 WITNESS PROTECTION, 28/1 28 TEA CLIPPER, 33/1 33 DANS LE VENT, 33/1 33 JANIKA, 33/1 33 HEAVEN HELP US, 33/1 33 SHANG TANG, 33/1 33 SHAKEM UP'arry, 40/1 40 GARO DE JUILLEY, 40/1 40 OUR POWER, 40/1 40 PALMERS HILL, 40/1 40 SAINT SONNET, 50/1 50 BURBANK, 50/1 50 SAYO, 80/1 80 NELSON RIVER, 498/1 498 BREFFNIBOY, 499/1 499 ENCORE CHAMPS

Established in 1993, the race has been sponsored by Coral for its entire history, and was upgraded to Grade 3 status in 1999.

The inaugural winner of the race, the Peter Scudamore-trained Olympian , was awarded a £50,000 bonus by the sponsors for winning the Imperial Cup at Sandown, another highly competitive handicap hurdle race, over two miles, the week before.

The bonus is available to any winner of the Imperial Cup who can win at the Festival a week later, and whilst Olympian is the only horse to have won it by following up in the Coral Cup, the Martin Pipe-trained Blowing Wind earned the bonus by winning the County Hurdle in 1998, and Gaspara also achieved the bonus in 2007, by following up in the Fred Winter.

The 2008 renewal of the Coral Cup, won by the Ferdy Murphy-trained Naiad du Misselot , had to be switched to the New Course at Cheltenham due to high winds and as a result was run over half a furlong shorter, over two miles and four and a half furlongs.

The race is one of the most competitive races at the entire Festival, and as such the winner regularly returns at a big price, with just one favourite winning the race this century – the Tony Martin-trained Xenophon , who won the 2003 Coral Cup and returned home the 4/1 favourite, ridden by Mick Fitzgerald.

Perhaps the most prestigious winner of the Coral Cup is Whisper , who won the race when trained by Nicky Henderson in 2014, but is now trained by Sam Thomas.

Whisper went on to win the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree a year later and latterly progressed to become a top-class staying chaser, finishing second to Might Bite in a thrilling renewal of the RSA Chase in 2017.

Dai Walters’ colours were also carried to victory in the 2019 renewal won by William Henry, who flashed home under Nico de Boinville to deny the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave. That win means that Henderson is now tied with Martin Pipe as the leading trainer in the race (three wins apiece).

The leading jockey in the Coral Cup is Davy Russell , who has won the race three times, with Naiad de Misselot in 2008, Carlito Brigante in 2011 and most recently with Diamond King in 2016.

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Coral Cup 2022 FAQs

What is the distance of the Coral Cup?

2 miles 5 furlongs and 26 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the Coral Cup?

10

What day of the festival is the Coral Cup?

Day 2

What time is the Coral Cup?

14:40

What weights are carried for the Coral Cup?

Handicap

What is the purse for the Coral Cup?

£100,000 (2019)

Who is the leading jockey in the Coral Cup*?

Davy Russell, with three wins

Who is the leading trainer in the Coral Cup*?

David Pipe, with three wins

Who won the Coral Cup?

You can check out our Coral Cup results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Coral Cup?

Click the link to visit our Coral Cup Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1993

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CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN 2022

Days Hours Mins Secs

HORSE SEARCH

CHELTENHAM RACES 2022

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

38% George Rooke's strike rate on favourites (rides OWEN LITTLE)
;