The first big betting heat on Day 2 of the Festival, the Coral Cup is a handicap hurdle that was introduced to the Festival in 1993.
One of the most competitive handicaps at the Festival, it often turns into a cavalry charge on the run to the finish line.
CORAL CUP TRENDS
The Coral Cup tends 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.
Big-priced winners are not uncommon in the Coral Cup, as evidenced recently by the victories of Heaven Help Us at 33/1 in 2021 and William Henry at 28/1 in 2019.
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 4 winners in the last 12 years have come from no fewer than 38 entries.
But notably all four of those winners had won at Cheltenham before (15 of the 38 runners had). That's an impressive 4-15 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
The 2021 Coral Cup winner was Heaven Help Us, ridden by Richie Condon in his first-ever ride at Cheltenham:
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: