The Coral Cup is a Grade Three handicap hurdle open to horses aged four and older.
It is run over and extended two-and-a-half miles and there are approximately ten flights of hurdles to be jumped.
This race usually attracts a maximum field of more than two dozen runners and sometimes space can be of a premium as the runners and riders jostle for position.
Dame De Compagnie was the first favourite to win this race since 2003 so that shows just how hard it is to confidently predict the winner.
French bred horses are becoming more popular for this race. Ten out of the last twelve winners have been priced at double figure odds.
Classier horses racing off a mark in their 150’s have been getting placed more and more, however to win you generally need a mark of at least 140 to win.
No horse has ever won this race for a second time but in recent years Nicky Henderson has saddled three of the last seven winners.
Previous Winners of the Coral Cup
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Coral Cup 2022.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
DROP THE ANCHOR – PAT FAHEY
Drop The Anchor was beaten three-and-a-half lengths in the County Hurdle last year when he was in much better form.
He ran a fair race after a short break at Leopardstown when fifth to Call Me Lyreen, but he needs to step up another gear. He seems up against it.
UNEXPECTED PARTY – DAN SKELTON
Unexpected Party is one of the least experienced in the field having only had six career starts to date.
He ran well here over the course and distance when second to Gowel Road back in November and he has backed that up with two decent efforts subsequently including when finally putting his head in front at Ascot in a handicap hurdle.
He is improving at just the right time and is another that would appreciate any rain that fell.
A suspicion remains that he may need more experience before he lands a race such as this.
GOWEL ROAD – NIGEL TWISTON DAVIES
Gowel Road got off the mark for the season when beating Unexpected Party here over this course and distance back in November.
He was given a short break following a disappointing effort at Newbury and he came back to somewhere near his best when beaten just over a length by Metier at Lingfield in another handicap.
Locally trained and representing the Twiston-Davies father and son combination, he is very hard to leave out of any equation. Acts on most surfaces too.
THE SHUNTER – EMMET MULLINS
The Shunter made an uncharacteristic mistake when unseating Brian Hayes at Leopardstown last time out.
He can usually be relied upon to run well having won five of his last eleven starts and not finishing outside the first four when has managed to get around.
He was backed off the boards to land the Paddy Power Plate last year and duly obliged.
There is no doubting his talent or his ability and having been sparingly campaigned this year, he looks to have every chance of obliging again.
A minor detail but the last three winners of this race all wore headgear and he has a hood applied here.
SAINT FELICIEN – GORDON ELLIOTT
Saint Felicien is treading into unknown waters here.
Having won a novice hurdle at Gowran Park back in November he was given a short break before being tested in a Grade 3 where he finished second to Darasso in the Limestone Lad Hurdle.
He has never tried this extra half mile and this venture into handicap company will be completely new to him.
It usually takes a far more experienced sort to land this so I can offer very little encouragement.
CAMPROND – PHILIP HOBBS
Camprond hasn’t been seen since finishing fourth to West Cork in the Greatwood Hurdle back in November.
He has shown that he can go well fresh though and is a previous course and distance winner.
The yard are in great form with three of their last four runners all winning and he has to be high on any shortlist.
He looks ideally weighted and looks potentially to be very much in the mix.
INDIGO BREEZE – GORDON ELLIOTT
Indigo Breeze has a similar profile to stablemate Saint Felicien in that he has never raced in a handicap and is yet to prove himself over this sort of trip.
Inexperience around here is not what you want on your side and he would need a career best to get involved.
Many of his rivals are battel hardened warriors and he may not know much about what is going on around him. A nice sort but needs more runs.
CALL ME LORD – NICKY HENDERSON
Call Me Lord represents a master of winning this race in Nicky Henderson. Whilst he has some iffy looking form, he has been plying his trade in loftier company than this of late.
There is no doubting he was a good horse back in the day, but even when tested in lesser company than this of late, he has seemed to be found wanting.
He has only ever won one race which came over an extended two miles. He looks likely to be outclassed and given what we know about him, he likely won’t stay this trip.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2022 Coral Cup Tips & Key Trends
GOWEL ROAD looks to have a lot in his favour as he will appreciate this return to the extended two-and-a-half miles.
Sam Twiston-Davies has partnered him on every career start bar his debut and numerous horses have come out to frank the form since including Good Time Jonny, Small Bad Bob and Unexpected Party.
The locally trained runner is sure to prove popular should he come for this race and is a must for any shortlist.
The Shunter looks the best of the Irish and if he can recover from an uncharacteristic mistake last time out, last years’ plate winner could well play an important role in the outcome of this race.
- 18 of the 21 winners had run 9 times or less over hurdles
- 9 of the 12 previous winners had run here previously
- 9 of the last 12 winners were rated in the 140s
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 7/1 Saint Felicien
- 7/1 The Shunter
- 7/1 Good Risk At All
- 15/2 Drop The Anchor
- 8/1 Unexpected Party
- 9/1 Camprond
- 12/1 Gowel Road
- 12/1 Fastorslow
- 14/1 Indigo Breeze
- 33/1 Call Me Lord