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 eight winners.
Previous Winners of the Coral Cup
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Coral Cup 2023.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
CAMPROND – PHILIP HOBBS
Won a couple of hurdle races around here in 2021 but paid the price following a big win at the Punchestown Festival last season. He has been edging down the ratings ever since and it is worth remembering that he finished fourth behind Commander Of Fleet last year.
His form this year has been rather discouraging but has that been the plan all along? The runs over two miles of late are too short for him and he will appreciate the return to this extended two-and-a-half miles. Looks to be in with a shout for Philip Hobbs.
HMS SEAHORSE – PAUL NOLAN
Finished a good fourth in the Boodles here last season when beaten three-and-a-half lengths by Brazil. Since then he has been sparingly campaigned but won a decent handicap at Navan back in January over a similar sort of trip.
He comes here with an impressive profile and Paul Nolan targets his horses purposefully at winnable races. He will bid to become the youngest winner of the race since Aux Ptits Soins back in 2015 and he has to be seriously considered.
RUN FOR OSCAR – CHARLES BYRNES
A really useful dual purpose performer who won good staying handicaps on the flat last year including the Cesarewitch at Newmarket back in October.
He was last seen finishing third to Saint Sam in a handicap hurdle at Punchestown back in December, but the form of that race is not really working out.
He is another that lacks any previous experience of this track and that has to be a major concern despite his clear talent.
FIL D’OR – GORDON ELLIOTT
Got back to winning ways last time out at Gowran Park. The Gordon Elliott trained five-year-old ran a solid race here last season when chasing home Vauban in the Triumph Hurdle. That form is realtively strong but he has already endured a long season.
This will be his sixth race of the campaign but he clearly thrives on his racing. There could well be something more fresh lurking in this race but he has to have each way claims here.
GOOD RISK AT ALL – SAM THOMAS
A step up to three miles was not what the doctor ordered for this fella at Haydock last time out. The last two times he has competed in handicaps in and around this trip, he has won them decisively.
Although not seen since November, he has an ability to go well fresh and Sam Thomas is proving particularly good at placing his horses. Good Risk At All won a bumper here in 2020 and any experience is an asset at this track. A lively each way contender on that basis.
RED RISK – PAUL NICHOLLS
Has been in great form recently and picked up a decent prize at Newbury back in November. Since then he chased home West Balboa in the Lanzarote at Kempton back in January and has been kept fresh for this.
The biggest fear is that most of his form has come on flatter tracks and whether he can get up this steep uphill climb at the end is open to interpretation. Paul Nicholls has won this race before though so ought to know what it takes.
BEACON EDGE – NOEL MEADE
Very well handicapped based on the best of his form and has reverted to hurdling this season with this likely to be his main aim. A solid third in the Boyne Hurdle last time he beat off some tough opposition.
He has been over for two previous festivals and his best run came when fourth to Flooring Porter in the Stayers Hurdle a couple of seasons ago.
He seems to travel with fluency and is trying the route capitalised on by Commander Of Fleet and Supasundae in recent years by taking in the Boyne hurdle and winning this race. Hard to ignore and strong each way claims.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2023 Coral Cup Tips & Key Trends
The undoubted value in the race looks to be Beacon Edge who warmed up for this with a solid effort in the Boyne Hurdle last time out.
Horses that have used that race as a stepping stone prior to coming here to win include Commander Of Fleet and Supasundae. Noel Meade has enjoyed the odd festival winner in recent seasons and I can see this nine-year-old travelling sweet as a nut throughout.
He looks to be coming into the race in good form and looks solid each way material. There are dangers aplenty though and the younger and less exposed HMS Seahorse could be the one that causes him most problems.
- 19 of the 22 winners had run 9 times or less over hurdles
- 10 of the 13 previous winners had run here previously
- 9 of the last 14 winners were rated in the 140s
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 13/2 Run For Oscar
- 7/1 Captain Conby
- 8/1 An Epic Song
- 9/1 Langer Dan
- 10/1 HMS Seahorse
- 11/1 Good Risk At All
- 12/1 Beacon Edge
- 12/1 Camprond
- 14/1 Fil Dor
- 14/1 Benson
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