The Coral Cup is one of the most competitive races of the entire Festival, with a maximum field going to post for this Grade 3, 2m 5f Handicap Hurdle. Won by some smart horses in past seasons such as Whisper, Aux Ptits Soins and this years leading Stayers Hurdle fancy Supasundae, it’s a race that we can take in with a view towards the future. Usually run at a frenetic pace, stamina is crucial and jumping mistakes do not go unpunished. Our trends analysis for this difficult handicap can be found below, with our Coral Cup tips also on site and ready to view now.
Coral Cup Trends
- It gets tougher with age – Since 2000, only three horses aged eight or over have won this contest
- It’s what you don’t know – Since 2000, only three winners had nine or more runs under their belt
- Second season is the sweet spot – Of the last eleven renewals, eight winners were having their second season over timber
- Graveyard for favourites – The last winning favourite was Xenophon, who won in 2003 for Tony Martin
- Ratings do matter – Of the twenty-four renewals, only three horses have won this race rated higher than 147
William Henry ❌✅✅❌❌
Duc Des Genievres ✅✅❌✅❌
Max Dynamite ❌✅❌✅✅
Bleu Et Rouge ✅✅❌✅❌
Le Breuil ✅✅✅✅✅
Of the runners at the top of the market, Le Breuil fits all five trends for Ben Pauling. Aged six, he has only run five times over timber and is a second season hurdler. He’s currently not the favourite and is rated 139, which historically will put him on a very favourable weight.
Although the trends are against him, the early favourite is Nicky Henderson’s William Henry, who is 3/5 over timber and ran away with the Lanzarote Hurdle on his latest outing. The step up to this distance clearly did him the world of good and stamina will be no problem come race day. This isn’t a race that has historically favoured horses over the age of eight and if he were to win he’d only be the fourth horse since the turn of the century to win this contest over the age of seven. Perhaps the more pressing issue though is how poorly favourites have done in this contest, as we have to go back to 2003 to find the last winning favourite.
Willie Mullins has a very strong hand in this year’s renewal as he bids for his first ever win in the contest. Duc Des Genievres has run twice for Mullins, joining the yard after a win in France. He kept on in taking style behind Samcro at Leopardstown last month and looks sure to be much happier back up in distance. He’s completely unexposed but as a first season hurdler, he does lack the experience of some of his rivals. Max Dynamite was put up earlier in the season as a Festival horse to watch by Rich Ricci but he does arrive with plenty of question marks, as he’s not run since Hong Kong in December. Blue Eu Rouge is in his third season of hurdling and arrives here in great form, second the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle last month. He’s now five pounds higher and that takes him to a rating of 154, which means he would be the highest ever rated winner of this contest.
The horse that fits all of the trends is Ben Pauling’s Le Breuil, who has won twice in five attempts over the obstacles. He was last seen finishing second to a horse who has won again since in clear cut fashion at Aintree. He’s on the same mark as that Aintree run which looks lenient based on what the winner has done since, especially as he should do better on ground that is firmer than heavy. He’s still unexposed as a hurdler and his novice form suggests he can do even better yet in handicaps.
Away from the front five in the market, another who is highly interesting is Gordon Elliott’s Sire Du Berlais, who has run only three times in Ireland. A second season hurdler, he was a winner in France and went close in a competitive handicap hurdle at Fariyhouse last time. That was over 2m 4f and he shaped as though he would really benefit from a much stronger stamina test, as he rallied really well after losing his place at a crucial stage. He actually fits all five of the trends and he is surely better than his current mark of 144, so it would be no surprise if he was to go close for JP McManus.
With the Festival just around the corner, you can view all our antepost previews and tips on our Cheltenham Festival tips section now!