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Coral Cup 2022: All you need to know

| 15.03.2022
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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 2022, which you can watch at2.50pm on Wednesday 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 Heaven Help Us made every yard to score at 33/1 12 months ago. 

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 key trends

Trainers 

As we have just highlighted Nicky Henderson is the dominant training force when it comes to the Coral Cup and from his 54 runners over the last 20 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) to success, while the Irishman has a taking strike-rate as his winners have come from just 18 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. 

Nicky Henderson, Cheltenham Festival, Coral Cup

UK or Ireland?

In the past 20 years the UK has landed the Coral Cup 12 times, with a further 41 placed horses from their 389 runners, while Ireland are responsible for eight victors and 19 placed efforts from just 138 runners.

Jockeys

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 back on the Cheltenham Festival scoresheet having missed the 2021 Festival through injury. 

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. 

Davy Russell, Coral Cup

Age

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. 

Favourites

There has been only one winning favourite of the Coral Cup in the last 10 years, while three of the last four winners have been priced 33/1, 28/1 and 20/1.

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. 

Dame De Compagnie, Coral Cup

Lightly raced

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 2022 Coral Cup?

There could be plenty of drama before the Coral Cup is even run this year as ante-post favourite GOOD RISK AT ALL (7/1) looks set to miss out on the race by just one position and is currently first reserve for the 26-strong field. 

In his absence it is the Irish who look to hold the monopoly, with 15 of the 26 trained in the Emerald Isle. Elliott is responsible for six of those and it is would be no shock if the trophy heads back to Cullentra House Stables for the third time. 

The lightly-raced SAINT FELICIEN (9/1) is the shortest priced of his sextet and the exciting prospect could make light work of a mark of 149, while stablemate INDIGO BREEZE (14/1) has caught the eye on multiple occasions this season. 

THE SHUNTER (15/2) landed a gamble in the Plate at last year’s Festival and looks to have been plotted out for this. He is the mount of JP McManus’ number one rider Mark Walsh, while DROP THE ANCHOR (10/1) is another in the green and gold who has to be taken seriously. 

THE BOSSES OSCAR (33/1), GRAND ROI (14/1) and ASHDALE BOB (18/1) are others from across the Irish Sea to consider, although they are all towards the top of the handicap. 

The Bosses Oscar, Coral Cup, horse racing

UNEXPECTED PARTY (8/1) has form figures this season of 4,1,2,2,1 and is respected for the Skelton team, although he was beaten at Prestbury Park by GOWEL ROAD (14/1) earlier in the season and he is much better off at the weights this time around. 

CAMPROUND (11/1) was just over four-lengths clear of MARS HARPER (14/1) in a novice event here in November and are others that enter the reckoning, while DANS LE VENT (33/1) and Warwick winner FAIR FRONTIRES (40/1) are two at bigger odds who could surprise. 

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All odds and market correct at date of publication

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Author

Adam Morgan