Run over an extended two-and-a-half miles on the old course, this event usually turns into a cavalry charge on the run to the finish line. There are ten hurdles to be jumped and there will likely be a maximum field of twenty-six runners going to post. Dame De Compagnie (2020) was the first favourite to win this race since Xenophon in 2003 so that shows just how hard it is to confidently predict the winner. French bred horses are becoming more popular for this race due to them being more forward in the earlier part of their careers.
Eight out of the last ten winners have been priced at 12/1 or bigger and ten of the last thirteen winners had also run at Cheltenham previously. In recent years, horses racing off a mark in the 150’s have been getting placed more and more, however to win you generally need a mark of at least 138. There has never been a successful defence of the prize by any previous winner. In recent years Nicky Henderson has saddled three of the last seven winners and no horse older than nine has won this race since Chance Coffey in 1995. The last four winners of this race have all worn headgear of some sort so look out for that and two of the last three winners have been mares.
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Runners
One of five Gordon Elliott trained runners in the field. Makes his handicap debut having beaten the old yardstick Sharjah who was on the decline last time out at Gowran Park in a grade 3 hurdle. New trip and has stamina to prove under 5lb conditional jockey Ben Harvey.
One of three JP McManus-owned runners. Been chasing this season and reverts to timber off a handicap mark 4lb lower than his last winning mark. Well weighted for one at such a big price.
Run For Oscar
Landed a gamble on the flat for shrewd trainer Charles Byrnes in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last October. Shown promise since in two hurdle races and with the trainer’s son Philip in the saddle should be thereabouts over a trip that may suit.
First run over hurdles for Willie Mullins having joined last Summer from Paul Nicholls. Beaten in two handicaps on the flat though for Mullins and with Jack Foley claiming 3lb on board has a few questions to answer now. Probably wouldn’t want ground too soft.
Followed up a 20/1 win at Newbury on his re-appearance at Newbury last November with a decent second only beaten in a bobbing finish in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton over this trip. 5lb higher now and Harry Cobden takes over from a 7lb claimer. Capable of running well for master trainer Paul Nicholls.
Gigginstown Stud’s sole runner in the race. Bounced back to form last time when 3rd to stayers hurdle hope Blazing Khal in a grade 2 at Navan over today’s trip beaten 6 1/2L and is well handicapped on his back form. Useful conditional Michael O’Sullivan who claims 3lb is an eye-catching booking.
Call Me Lord
Getting a bit long in the tooth now at the age of 10 years but is running consistently well and has a chance of making the top six here for Daryl Jacob in the double green silks of his retained owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. Pulled up in this last year.
The second of the JP McManus runners and ridden by his retained Irish jockey Mark Walsh. Didn’t like the fast ground last time at Newbury in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and is trying a new trip here. If he stays, could make his presence felt on ground that will suit better than last time. Ran 4th in last year’s Triumph Hurdle.
Only 12/1 when pulled up in last year’s renewal and has shown very little since including in three novice chases. Some promise last time but hard to fancy Gordon Elliott’s seven year old gelding much here who will be ridden by 7lb conditional jockey Corey McGiven.
Placed in two Irish handicap hurdles this season and this trip looks ideal. Trained by E Sheehy, this second season hurdler has solid each-way claims under the experienced jockey Keith Donoghue. Went down by 1 3/4L to the re-opposing San Salvador last time at Punchestown and is now 4lb better off. Can run well.
Good Risk To All
Was balloted out of race last year when ante-post favourite. Sam Thomas’s chestnut is lightly raced and impressed when an easy winner in heavy ground on his re-appearance at Carlisle in October. Pulled too hard when not seeing out the trip over 3M at Haydock when well supported the following month and not seen since. Wet conditions suit and with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle has a big chance.
Bounced back to form following a gelding operation when winning a valuable handicap hurdle at Navan in January. 11lb higher now but lightly-raced and conditions will be ideal. Trained by Paul Nolan in Ireland and will be ridden by Sean O’Keefe. Each way claims.
Watch House Cross
Made all to bounce back to winning form by a short head at Naas last November and wasn’t disgraced in 5th at Leopardstown over Christmas. Rachael Blackmore takes the ride for Henry De Bromhead.
Was laid out for the Martin Pipe at the Festival last year but was brought down early. Proved he was well-handicapped when going on to win at Aintree off of a handicap 4lb lower than todays. Been brought along quietly this season in three races and Dan Skelton’s gelding could be thereabouts.
Joined Nicky Henderson from Laura Morgan last year and has won two handicap chases since before flopping in the grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot. Back over hurdles here in first time cheek pieces off of a mark 4lb lower than his current one over fences. A lively outsider with Nico De Boinville riding.
The Very Man
Last won over hurdles 10 months ago at Navan although has struck since on the flat in a Thurles maiden. Modest effort when last seen in Leopardstown handicap hurdle. Trainer Jessie Harrington is fighting her own battle with cancer and it would great to see her horse put a smile on her face though recent form says it’s unlikely.
Chasing a £100k bonus for winning a valuable handicap hurdle at Kelso 11 days ago. That was over two miles but should have no problem with this longer trip. Been very consistent since joining Sandy Thomson and with the underrated Ryan Mania in the saddle can run well each way.
Was laid out for this race last year but the ground went against him turning soft and it could be the same scenario this season. His best form is on good ground and off of a 2lb lower mark than last year when 4th ( beaten 10 1/2L) may struggle for the recently formed training combo of Philip Hobbs and Johnson White. Aidan Coleman rides for owner JP McManus.
Beat the re-opposing Captain Conby a length and three quarters at Punchestown on New Years Eve and although 4lb worse off here Joseph O’Brien’s chestnut looks capable of running well each way. 3lb conditional Richard Deegan takes the ride and is good value for that claim.
Tax For Max
One of two Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned horses here. Has been well beaten twice at this track and stepping up in trip is not certain to suit Willie Mullins’ six year old who will be ridden by Danny Mullins.
An Epic Song
Has come back from a long absence of 338 days and shown little in two 2M handicaps. Was a good winner over further than that at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve 2021 on very soft ground and has been the subject of plenty of support over the past 48 hours. An interesting runner who may have been laid out for this by his shrewd handler Martin Brassil.
Makes his handicap debut having won two 2m 4 1/2F novice hurdles, the latter at Thurles in grade 3 company last month. Davy Russell takes the ride for Gordon Elliott and has to be respected as the most lightly-raced horse in the line-up.
Another Gordon Elliott runner. This one will be ridden by Jordan Gainford. Beat San Salvador 2 3/4L at Cork in November and is 3lb worse off here. Things didn’t pan out next time but bounced back to form since in a novice hurdle.
Smart novice hurdler last season. Was going ok when falling three from home in valuable handicap hurdle at Kelso, his first since wind surgery, 11 days ago and Nicky Richards’ eight year old looks capable of out running his odds under Danny McMenamin.
Off Your Rocco
Dual-winning novice hurdler last season. Soundly beaten at big prices in two valuable handicap hurdles so far this season and this Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old has questions to answer now.
Northern raider who’s been chasing on his last four starts. 4lb lower over hurdles but hard to fancy Nick Alexander’s 9-year-old.
Irish Hill (Reserve)
On a real roll winning his last three starts for Paul Nicholls, his latest in a valuable handicap at Ascot. First reserve today but has a definite chance if getting into the race.
Harbour Lake (Reserve)
Second reserve who flopped last time and if lucky enough to get a run Alan King’s runner has it to do.
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Tips
A real minefield of a race with many in with chances. My shortlist comprises of Sa Fureur who’s making his handicap debut for Gordon Elliott, Good Risk To All who looks handicapped to run well for Sam Thomas, and Paul Nicholls’ Irish Hill although he’s first reserve here so isn’t guaranteed a run. I’ll take Sam Thomas’s Good Risk To All to take first prize
- Good Risk To All
- Sa Fureur
- Irish Hill
If you want to discover the best bookmaker promotions then take a look at our Cheltenham Festival betting offers page.