The Coral Cup is one of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the season and takes place at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
It is run over a distance of two miles and five furlongs with ten flights of hurdles to jump. The race was first run in 1993 and no horse has managed to win the race twice.
The race often features some significant gambles but the record of favourites is poor. Notable high-class Coral Cup winners include Time For A Run (1994), Trainglot (1996), Top Cees (1998), Whisper (2014) and Supersundae (2017).
Find out more about The Coral Cup:
- 1 Race Overview – Coral Cup
- 2 Famous Coral Cup Winners
- 3 The Coral Cup Previous Winners
- 4 The Coral Cup Odds 2023
- 5 Key Coral Cup Trials
- 6 Coral Cup Betting Trends
- 7 Coral Cup – Top Trainers and Jockeys
- 8 Betting on the Coral Cup
- 9 Popular Questions
- 10 Summary of The Coral Cup
- 11 Other Cheltenham Related Articles
Race Overview – Coral Cup
On Wednesday, March 16th, the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Coral Cup is held on the Old Course at Cheltenham.
Horses must be four years old or older to compete in the Grade 3 National Hunt hurdle race.
The race is approximately 2 miles and 5 furlongs long, with ten hurdles to be jumped along the way.
Famous Coral Cup Winners
The inaugural Coral Cup helped to establish the race with victory going to Martin Pipe’s Olympian, scooping a £50,000 bonus for following up his win in the Imperial Cup at Sandown.
The following year Charlie Swan rode a classic waiting race on Time For A Run, a well-backed winner from the Edward O’Grady stable.
Trainglot was a Cesarewitch Handicap winner on the flat and he was another popular winner of the Coral Cup for Jimmy Fitzgerald in 1996.
Top Cees won the Chester Cup in 1995 and 1997 on the flat for Lynda Ramsden and he also showed his versatility when winning here off a lightweight in 1998.
2000 Coral Cup winner What’s Up Boys nearly won the Aintree Grand National later in his career for Philip Hobbs. He was driven three lengths clear by Richard Johnson on the run-in but was caught close home by Bindaree. It was the closest that champion jockey ever came to winning the great race.
Hobbs also won this with another subsequent chaser in Monkerhostin (2004). His biggest success came as an eleven-year-old when winning the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2008.
Nicky Henderson has enjoyed plenty of success in this race and his most notable winner was Whisper (2014). He followed up in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle and was also smart over fences, finishing second to Might Bite in the RSA Chase and to Total Recall in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
Supersundae was another top quality winner of the Coral Cup in 2017. He went on to win the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in 2018. Jessica Harrington’s gelding also had the stamina to finish second in a Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle.
The Coral Cup Previous Winners
|2012||Son of Flicka||8||Jason Maguire||Donald McCain|
|2013||Medinas||6||Wayne Hutchinson||Alan King|
|2014||Whisper||6||Nico de Boinville||Nicky Henderson|
|2015||Aux Ptits Soins||5||Sam Twiston-Davies||Paul Nicholls|
|2016||Diamond King||8||Davy Russell||Gordon Elliott|
|2017||Supasundae||7||Robbie Power||Jessica Harrington|
|2018||Bleu Berry||7||Mark Walsh||Willie Mullins|
|2019||William Henry||9||Nico de Boinville||Nicky Henderson|
|2020||Dame De Compagnie||7||Barry Geraghty||Nicky Henderson|
|2021||Heaven Help Us||7||Richard Condon||Paul Hennessy|
|2022||Commander Of Fleet||7||Shane Fitzgerald||Gordon Elliott|
The Coral Cup Odds 2023
Listed below will be the odds for the Coral Cup in 2023 once they are released.
Key Coral Cup Trials
Coral Cup winners come from a wide range of handicaps in Britain and Ireland. The most informative trials have been at Leopardstown and Cheltenham. Five of the last twelve winners had a previous win at Cheltenham to their credit.
Heaven Help Us won the Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown prior to winning here in 2021. Interestingly, that race also produced the winners of the Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Telmesomethinggirl) and Pertemps Final (Mrs Milner).
Coral Cup Betting Trends
- The average winning SP in the Coral Cup over the past twelve seasons has been 18-1. That tells you all you need to know about how difficult it is to pinpoint the winner.
- There has only been one successful favourite during that time, Nicky Henderson’s Dame De Compagnie (5-1) in 2020. The only other winner in single figures was 9-1 second favourite Aux Ptits Soins for Paul Nicholls in 2015.
- There have been two 33-1 winners; Medinas in 2013 and Heaven Help Us in 2021. William Henry (2019) was only five points shorter at 28-1 having been pulled up in his last race before having wind surgery.
- Horses aged five to seven have the best recent record in the race, although William Henry won as a nine-year-old. Son Of Flicka (2012) and Diamond King (2016) were both successful in the Coral Cup at the age of eight.
- Previous winning form in excess of two miles is a definite plus with seven of the last twelve winners having won at or beyond 19 furlongs.
- All twelve winners had at least two previous victories over hurdles and all but two had raced at least six times. The hurly-burly of the Coral Cup does not suit inexperienced horses.
- An official rating of 138 or higher is usually required to win this race. Heaven Help Us was right on that mark in 2021 while the highest-rated recent winner was Whisper (2014) rated 153. William Henry was rated 151, Diamond King 149 and Medinas 148.
Coral Cup – Top Trainers and Jockeys
Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer in the history of the Coral Cup with four winners; Spirit River (2010), Whisper (2014), William Henry (2019) and Dame De Compagnie (2020).
Although Ireland has been increasingly successful in this race, their victories have been shared among a large number of trainers.
Only Edward O’Grady and Gordon Elliott have recorded two victories. O’Grady struck with Time For A Run in 1994 and Sky’s The Limit in 2006. Elliott’s two victories to date were Carlito Brigante (2011) and Diamond King (2016).
Two jockeys have won the Coral Cup on three occasions. Barry Geraghty rode three winners for Nicky Henderson; Spirit River (2010), Whisper (2014) and William Henry (2019).
Davy Russell was successful on Naiad de Misselot (2008), Carlito Brigante (2011) and Diamond King (2016).
Betting on the Coral Cup
The Coral Cup is one of the biggest betting races at the Cheltenham Festival, despite the poor record of favourites.
It regularly features ante-post gambles and bookmakers offer enhanced place terms, sometimes down to seventh place for each-way bets.
Bookmakers have started offering “non-runner – no bet” on the Coral Cup towards the end of January. This is weeks before the weights are even announced so it makes sense to bet NRNB on this notoriously tricky contest.
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What time is the Coral Cup Cheltenham?
The Coral Cup takes place at 14:30.
How far is the Coral Cup?
The Coral Cup has a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs.
Summary of The Coral Cup
The Coral Cup is one of the most fiercely contested National Hunt races of the season.
Often run at a frantic pace, slick jumping, a good handicap and a degree of luck is needed. Normally approaching the last flight there are still half a dozen in with a fighting chance.
We always look forward to the Coral Cup, with such a large field it’s one of the great racing speatacles.
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