CORAL CUP

The Coral Cup is a handicap hurdle and the first big betting heat on Day 2 of the Festival.

Grade 3 | 4yo+ | Wednesday 14.50 
2 miles 5 furlongs | 10 hurdles | Old Course
Weight: 10st - 11st 12lb (handicap)
Prize money (2022): £100,000 | 1st: £56,270

Introduced to the Cheltenham Festival in 1993, it is one of the most competitive handicaps of the week and often turns into a cavalry charge on the run to the finish line.

Nicky Henderson has trained 4 of the last 13 winners
11 of the last 13 winners had run at Cheltenham before
3 of the last 4 winners had won at Cheltenham before
1 of the 29 winners were the top weight
4 of the last 6 winners were aged 7
1 of the last 19 favourites won
Updated to include 2022 renewal

The Coral Cup has tended to favour lightly raced hurdlers who are less well known to the Irish and British handicappers.

Sky's The Limit is the only horse to carry top weight to victory, although Wicklow Brave was just collared on the line in 2019.

However, while the top rated horse (154) in 2022 was pulled up, the next highest rated: Commander Of Fleet and Ashdale Bob (both 152) finished first and third respectively.

Both had claiming jockeys on-board, with the winner thus carrying 11st 5lb rather than the allotted 11st 10lb.

Big-priced winners are not uncommon in the Coral Cup, as evidenced recently by the victories of Commander Of Fleet at 50/1 in 2022 and Heaven Help Up at 33/1 in 2021.

Before them, Medinas (2013), Idole First (2005) and What's Up Boys (2000) all returned at 33/1.

Top trainers often have more than one runner and it isn’t always the most fancied horse from a yard that prevails.

Nicky Henderson certainly likes to target this and his four winners in the last 13 years have come from no fewer than 39 entries.

But, notably, all four of those winners had won at Cheltenham before (16 of the 39 runners had). That's an impressive 4-16 with horses that have won here before.

Especially when you consider their SP's of 5/1, 28/1, 14/1 & 14/1.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
8
152
11-5
2021
7
138
10-2
2020
7
140
10-12
2019
9
151
11-10
2018
7
143
11-2

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Commander Of Fleet
Shane Fitzgerald / Gordon Elliott
50/1
2021
Heaven Help Us
Richard Condon / Paul Hennessy
33/1
2020
Dame De Compagnie
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
5/1f
2019
William Henry
Nico de Boinville / Nicky Henderson
28/1
2018
Bleu Berry
Mark Walsh / W P Mullins
20/1
2017
Supasundae
Robbie Power / Jessica Harrington
16/1
2016
Diamond King
Davy Russell / Gordon Elliott
12/1
2015
Aux Ptits Soins
Sam Twiston-Davies / Paul Nicholls
9/1
2014
Whisper
Nico de Boinville / Nicky Henderson
14/1
2013
Medinas
Wayne Hutchinson / Alan King
33/1
2012
Son of Flicka
Jason Maguire / Donald McCain
16/1
2011
Carlito Brigante
Davy Russell / Gordon Elliott
16/1
2010
Spirit River
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
14/1
2009
Ninetieth Minute
Paddy Flood / Tom Taaffe
14/1
2008
Naiad du Misselot
Davy Russell / Ferdy Murphy
7/1
2007
Burntoakboy
Sam Jones / Richard Newland
10/1
2006
Sky's The Limit
Barry Geraghty / Edward O'Grady
11/1
2005
Idole First
Alan O'Keeffe / Venetia Williams
33/1
2004
Monkerhostin
Richard Johnson / Philip Hobbs
13/2
2003
Xenophon
Mick Fitzgerald / A J Martin
4/1f
2002
Ilnamar
Rodi Greene / Martin Pipe
25/1
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
What's Up Boys
Paul Flynn / Philip Hobbs
33/1

Commander Of Fleet sprang a 50/1 surprise in a mud-splattered Coral Cup in 2022 - winning a thrilling head-bobbing finish under 5lb claimer Shane Fitzgerald.

Runner-up in the 2019 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, the winner loves soft ground and relished the stamina-sapping conditions.

Gordon Elliott, who saddled seven runners, celebrated his first Festival winner in two years having been suspended the previous year:

‘OBVIOUSLY CHELTENHAM IS A PLACE THAT HAS BEEN VERY LUCKY FOR ME AND I LOVE TRAINING WINNERS HERE. TO BE BACK TRAINING WINNERS IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IS GREAT’

Heaven Help Us galloped clear of the field in 2021 to give Paul Hennessy, a greyhound trainer with just three horses in training, his first Festival winner.

The mare, born and raised at his home, was ridden by 7lb claimer Richie Condon in his first-ever ride at Cheltenham:

‘I’M DISAPPOINTED THE PUBS AREN’T OPEN BUT BACK HOME IN IRELAND WE ARE DAIRY FARMERS AND THERE PROBABLY WON’T BE A COW MILKED FOR A WEEK’

The mare Dame De Compagnie justified market support in 2020 to make it back-to-back Coral Cup wins for Nicky Henderson:

William Henry denied the top weight Wicklow Brave with a late thrust in 2019:

Bleu Berry went from last to first in 2018, a first Festival winner for late substitution jockey Mark Walsh:

Back in 2012, Son Of Flicka - beaten by a neck in the previous year's Martin Pipe Hurdle - went one better having been backed in from 66/1 to 16/1 on the day:

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Khayrawani
Fran Berry / Christy Roche
16/1
1998
Top Cees
Barry Fenton / Lynda Ramsden
11/1
1997
Big Strand
Jamie Evans / Martin Pipe
16/1
1996
Trainglot
Mark Dwyer / Jimmy FitzGerald
11/2
1995
Chance Coffey
Gerry O'Neill / Pat O'Donnell
11/1
1994
Time for a Run
Charlie Swan / Edward O'Grady
11/1
1993
Olympian
Peter Scudamore / Martin Pipe
4/1jf
All Coral Cup winners prior to 2000

CORAL CUP FAQ’s