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Coral Cup Hurdle

14:50 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-16

Winner: £56270

Runners: 24

Going: Soft

No. of hurdles: 10

Distance: 2m5f0y

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The Coral Cup is a 2m5f handicap hurdle that takes place on day two of the Cheltenham Festival and, with a maximum field of 26, is one of the most fiercely competitive betting heats at the meeting, with only one winner in the past ten years returning a single-figure price.

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14(0)
-21453
silk
Dans Le Vent

-

J: Isabel Williams
T: Evan Williams
9
11-0
142
160
Held up well off pace under Isabel Williams, travelling well; an improved performer this season, including in Grade 3 handicaps at Haydock (3m win) and Sandown (2m7f third); too much to do when fifth in valuable 2m5f race at Kempton in between but this is a stiffer track; might run into a place.
17(0)
3-4P36
silk
Call Me Lord

-

J: Daryl Jacob
T: Nicky Henderson
9
11-0
142
162
Not in top form this season (well handicapped if he was) and no win since 2019 but his third of 19 over 2m5f at Kempton when returned to hurdling in January was a big step back in the right direction; probably stretched by 2m7f on latest; case can be made for yard with good Coral Cup record.
10(0)
5-2144
silk
Daly Tiger

-

J: E Walsh
T: Noel Meade
9
11-3
145
149
Has seen a good deal more action over fences, below form in that sphere on latest outing and the form of his two starts over hurdles this winter (including 2m4f win) does not look good enough; however, he took a useful 2m1f handicap chase in January last year and is thrown in on that form.
12(0)
-34622
silk
Christopher Wood

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J: Harry Bannister
T: Venetia Williams
7
11-1
143
158
Creditable second at Musselburgh (1m7f) and Ascot (2m3f) on last two starts, leaving Paul Nicholls in between; comfortably dealt with by Good Risk At All (the ante-post favourite for this race, who was the unlucky first reserve) in the latter but the pair were miles clear, so going back up 2lb isn't harsh; this new trip is of uncertain benefit, though.
23(0)
01-006
silk
Maze Runner

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J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: W P Mullins
7
10-11
139
155
Took a strong handicap in good style at Leopardstown (soft to heavy) in February 2021; no impact in December in his next two hurdle races but his fading sixth of 24 at Leopardstown (on yielding; same race he won last term) on latest outing was rather more positive; needs a big career best but all five of his handicap hurdles have been at 3m and trying 2m5f is interesting.
8(0)
12-34U
silk
The Shunter

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J: Mark Walsh
T: Emmet Mullins
9
11-6
148
159
A revelation last season when his wins included the Greatwood over hurdles and Plate over fences, both at Cheltenham; close third at Punchestown festival in May on latest hurdles start and unseated early over fences on his only recent outing; well suited by this sort of trip and he has a 7lb higher mark over fences, so has to be in serious calculations.
13(0)
17-095
silk
Drop The Anchor

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J: Simon Torrens
T: P A Fahy
8
11-1
143
160
His four attempts at 2m4f have not yielded anything exciting but he's a familiar sight finishing strongly over about 2m, including when he took a good prize at Leopardstown last winter and when seventh in the County here (3lb lower today) last March; passed a huge number of rivals when fifth of 27 in the same Leopardstown race last month, so needs a second look.
3(0)
5F1P83
silk
Commander Of Fleet

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J: Shane Fitzgerald
T: Gordon Elliott
8
11-10
152
159
Runner-up here in the 2019 Grade 1 Albert Bartlett; career best when winning a good 23-runner handicap at Navan (3m, yielding) in December and, after two poor shows against the leading stayers, his third in a 2m5f Grade 2 three weeks ago was a step back in the right direction (albeit well held by Ashdale Bob on that form); needs another major personal best.
NR(0)
-12127
silk
Hang In There

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T: Emma Lavelle
8
11-6
148
160
Won Grade 2 novice in 2019 on sole run here; raised his game in a fine July-September last year (2m, good; mostly under Joe Anderson) before a lesser show when last seen in October; unraced at 2m3f or 2m4f since November 2020 and he's never been this far, so questions to answer with this test.
4(0)
128-24
silk
McFabulous

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J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
8
11-8
150
163
Nearly always seen in Graded races and his only handicap was an easy 2m5f win at Kempton two years ago; career-best form last term at 2m3f-3m and he made a respectable return here on New Year's Eve, before folding over 3m here four weeks later; this sort of trip may well be ideal but even peak form may not be enough; wears headgear first time.
19(0)
142114
silk
Camprond

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J: Aidan Coleman
T: Philip Hobbs
6
10-12
140
158
Won two novice events (one here) at about 2m4f in October and always prominent when good fourth of 19 in the 2m Greatwood Handicap here in November when last seen, all on good ground; acts on good to soft, more to prove on soft; this step back up in trip could unlock further potential.
22(0)
F3PP30
silk
Top Moon

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J: Richie McLernon
T: Ben Haslam
7
10-11
139
159
Beaten 30l in this in 2020; hit and miss chasing and below form when back hurdling (2m/3m) for last two starts, tailed off latest; often tongue tied last year and wore headgear last six starts, but has neither today on this first run since leaving Joseph O'Brien (same owner); an immediate return to peak form, including from occasions last year, would give him a squeak.
21(0)
0-0570
silk
Champagne Gold

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J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
7
10-11
139
157
Mown down in the final strides by Drop The Anchor in a top 2m handicap at Leopardstown last February; disappointing in the County Hurdle here next time and it's been the same story in his four starts since, including at 2m3f/2m4f initially this season; tongue tied first time; career best is needed, not just a revival.
16(0)
3-1233
silk
Garry Clermont

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J: Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T: Jonjo O'Neill
7
11-0
142
162
Scored over 2m3f at Warwick (soft) last May; twice ran well over about 2m at Ascot late last year, before his respectable third to Unexpected Party over 2m3f at same course where he did not look to be crying out for further; wears headgear first time.
1(0)
-232PP
silk
The Bosses Oscar

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J: Mr R James
T: Gordon Elliott
7
11-12
154
157
Fifth here in the 2020 Martin Pipe and second when favourite in the 2021 Pertemps; 3lb higher than last year for this return to hurdling, his five races over fences this season having not gone to plan; major backward steps on the last two of those, when tongue-tie and cheekpieces were enlisted, so it remains to be seen whether the spark returns today.
24(0)
/71-0P
silk
Tronador

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J: Sam Ewing
T: Gordon Elliott
6
10-10
138
156
Ninth in the 2020 Fred Winter here; far and away his best form when winning a 22-runner handicap at Aintree (2m4f, good to soft; 10lb higher today) last April; pulled up at the Galway festival in July when last seen; it wouldn't be a total surprise were he to peak again at the spring festivals.
18(0)
21/200
silk
Fastorslow

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J: Darragh O'Keeffe
T: Martin Brassil
6
10-13
141
150
Won a hurdle and chase in France as 3yo; not seen again until runner-up in a conditions event over hurdles at Punchestown (2m4f) last April, since which he's been mid-division in two competitive 2m handicaps; hooded last two outings but tongue-tie enlisted today; needs to show something new but he's very lightly raced and particularly unexposed going back up in trip.
6(0)
20-344
silk
Grand Roi

-

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
6
11-7
149
163
12th when favourite in this last year off same mark; he's a fair bit better than that, as shown again in a 2m4f Grade 2 on reappearance in November but he's been below form again on both outings since; the latest was behind Ashdale Bob and Commander Of Fleet at Navan; wears headgear first time.
15(0)
-41221
silk
Unexpected Party

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J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
7
11-0
142
162
Six starts in all and he has form figures of 1221 in handicaps; chased home Gowel Road over C&D (good) three starts back and won impressively at Ascot (2m3f, soft) on latest, for which he's gone up 12lb but he travels strongly and shapes as if he retains plenty of potential; shortlisted.
2(0)
2U3732
silk
Ashdale Bob

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J: Jack Foley
T: Mrs John Harrington
7
11-10
152
163
Won two Grade 2 novice hurdles over 2m4f last season; no win this term but he's raised his game since reverting to hurdling for last two outings, stretched by 3m against Stayers' Hurdle contenders at Gowran Park on first occasion and pipped in 2m5f Grade 2 at Navan on second; looks increasingly classy and capable of a very bold show.
NR(0)
2-151
silk
Fair Frontieres

-

T: Kim Bailey
7
10-9
137
153
Poor show in Grade 2 novice at Sandown in December but he's made all in his other two starts in Britain in a maiden at Worcester (2m7f, soft) and three-runner novice at Warwick (2m5f, good to soft); should have more to offer but this handicap debut could hardly come in a tougher race.
20(0)
128-12
silk
Indigo Breeze

-

J: Jordan Gainford
T: Gordon Elliott
6
10-12
140
152
327 days off before winning a maiden hurdle (2m at Gowran Park in November) at the third attempt; improved form when staying-on second of five in a conditions event at Fairyhouse (2m, soft) two months ago; well worth another go beyond 2m (tried 2m4f once in 2020) and he is something of an unknown quantity on this handicap debut for a top yard.
26(0)
125527
silk
Mars Harper

-

J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
6
10-9
137
153
Reliable sort who was on the go from last May until a slightly disappointing show in January; has shown up well over 3m but it may well be that this sort of trip will suit him best; needs to resume improvement.
9(0)
0-6132
silk
Gowel Road

-

J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
6
11-3
145
156
Accounted for Unexpected Party when the pair drew clear over C&D in November (good) and stuck to his task very well in defeat over 2m since, on latest start runner-up in valuable handicap on heavy at Lingfield; this step back up in trip looks sure to prompt further improvement; big shout.
11(0)
1250-F
silk
Ganapathi

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J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
6
11-3
145
157
Moved from Grade 2 and Grade 1 novice races when only 14th in the County here (6-1) 12 months ago on handicap debut; had worked his way into contention when falling at the final fight in four-runner 2m4f Grade 1 novice at Punchestown in April; tongue tied first time today; should have potential.
5(0)
1-12
silk
Saint Felicien

-

J: Robbie Power
T: Gordon Elliott
5
11-7
149
160
Form of his debut win in France (2m1f, very soft) worked out well; made most for very comfortable win in a novice at Gowran Park (2m, yielding) in November and he was outdone only on the run-in against established Graded-race hurdlers at Naas (1m7f, good to yielding) in January; this is a new trip for handicap debut but he is probably a high-class jumper in the making.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
Gowel Road
The Coral Cup can go to GOWEL ROAD (nap) who beat another leading contender in Unexpected Party over C&D in November and should take another step forward now that he is stepped back up from 2m. Saint Felicien takes a marked step up in trip but is highly talented yet seriously unexposed, so it would not be a shock were he to emerge as a blot on the handicap and he is feared most. His trainer Gordon Elliott has seven declared in total and the most interesting of his others may be Indigo Breeze. The best of the more experienced Irish runners could turn out to be Ashdale Bob, ahead of The Shunter. Ante-post favourite Good Risk At All is the first reserve.

Verdict

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CORAL CUP PREVIOUS WINNERS

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CORAL CUP KEY TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - CORAL CUP 2021

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