Coral Cup 2023: All you need to know
Odds and preview for the Coral Cup
The helter-skelter, hustle and bustle of the Coral Cup is one of the handicap highlights of the Cheltenham Festival and there is a full field heading to post on day two of the four-day Prestbury Park extravaganza hoping to scoop the £56,000 first prize.
The 2m5f event has been sponsored by Coral ever since its inception in 1993 and is one of the big Cheltenham betting events of the week, with the race being the source of some huge gambles in the past.
In 2003 Xenophon opened up at 8/1 before storming home at 5/1, while in 2012, Donald McCain’s Son Of Flica was successfully backed down from 66/1 to 16/1 when triumphing in the hands of Jason Maguire.
Here we have everything you need to know ahead of the Coral Cup 2023, which you can watch at 2.50pm on Wednesday March 15 on either ITV1 or Racing TV.
Coral Cup key facts
The Coral Cup has been a fixture of the Cheltenham Festival since it was first introduced in 1993, with Coral an ever-present name as the race sponsor.
The race is run over 2m5f on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival and was first won by Martin Pipe’s Olympian in 1993, while Commander Of Fleet scored at a massive 50/1 on a wet Wednesday 12 months ago.
Incredible @JockeyCam footage from a ridiculously wet and muddy @Coral Cup at #Cheltenham 🏆— Coral (@Coral) March 17, 2022
Pure bravery and commitment from @HarrySkelton89, @JJONeillJnr, @SimonTorrens123 & @Harry_Bann1310 💪
Congratulations to Shane Fitzgerald who rode the 50/1 winner Commander Of Fleet 👏 pic.twitter.com/0mUSZj3TTY
It is one of the season’s most competitive handicaps, with no horse winning the race more than once.
Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell are the most successful jockeys in the race with three wins, the latter steering the winner in 2008, 2011 and 2016, while Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer in the Coral Cup, saddling four winners in the past 12 years.
Coral Cup trends
As we have just highlighted Nicky Henderson is the dominant training force when it comes to the Coral Cup and from his 55 runners over the last 21 years, four have won and a further eight made the placings.
Gordon Elliott is the only other multiple winner still training having saddled Carlito Brigante (2011) and Diamond King (2016) as well as last year’s winner to success, while the Irishman has a taking strike-rate as his three winners have come from just 25 runners in the race and he has also had seven finish second, third or fourth.
Alan King, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs are other trainers to note, but beware of Jonjo O’Neill, David Pipe and Nigel Twiston-Davies, who are all yet to find the scoresheet in the Coral Cup.
The evergreen Davy Russell is one of two leading riders in the race, but the only one still occupying a place in the weighing room. He hasn’t ridden the winner of the race since 2016 and will be desperate to get on the Cheltenham Festival winners’ list again before returning to retirement.
Nico De Boinville has ridden in the Coral Cup eight times and has been aboard both Whisper and William Henry when they have won the race, while Sam Twiston-Davies is another winner of the race, who has also finished in the money on other occasions.
There have been only four winners of the Coral Cup aged nine or over and the race has favoured the young guns in recent years.
Four of the last five winners have been seven-year-olds, while five-year-olds have won the race three times since 2010.
There has been only one winning favourite of the Coral Cup in the last 10 years, while four of the last five winners have been priced 33/1, 28/1, 20/1 and 50/1
Other than 2020 winning favourite Dame De Compagnie (5/1), only Aux Ptits Soins (9/1) has scored at single-figure odds in the last 10 years.
It pays to side with a horse that is unexposed and hasn’t been overly raced in their career. Most winners of the Coral Cup have run no more than four times in the season, but it is worth noting that many will already know what the winner’s enclosure looks like, while previous Cheltenham racecourse experience often pays dividend.
Who could win the Coral Cup 2023?
Philip Hobbs has recently passed 3,000 career winners and if the market moves for CAMPROUND are to be believed, he could be about to end a four-year drought at the Cheltenham Festival.
His runner is rated just 1lb higher than when scoring at the Punchestown Festival last April and could be set to thrive in the spring once again with this likely to have been a long-term aim.
Ireland are responsible for most of the main contenders in the Coral Cup betting with easy Cesarewitch victor RUN FOR OSCAR an interesting contender for the ever-shrewd Charles Byrnes and Paul Nolan’s HMS SEAHORSE an equally inviting proposition on the back of a taking success at Navan in January.
Willie Mullins’ best hope looks to be Betfair Hurdle disappointment ICARE ALLEN, who has the form in the book to bounce back.
Others from the Emerald Isle with strong claims include Eamon ‘Dusty’ Sheehy’s consistent operator CAPTAIN CONBY, Joseph O’Brien’s SAN SALVADOR and BEACON EDGE, who has been campaigning at a much higher level than this and may have been given a chance by the handicapper.
Dan Skelton’s LANGER DAN is a possible for the home team with smart course form to his name and can’t be ignored.
Finally, it is foolish to ignore the claims of BENSON, who secured the Morebattle Hurdle with the minimum of fuss at Kelso and now has the chance to secure a £100,000 bonus if able to win at the Cheltenham Festival.
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All odds and market correct at date of publication