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The Coral Cup, a Grade Three handicap hurdle, welcomes horses aged four and older to compete over an extended two-and-a-half-mile distance, navigating approximately ten flights of hurdles.

Typically, this race draws a sizeable field of over two dozen runners, leading to a competitive scramble for positioning among the contenders.

Dame De Compagnie’s victory marked the first time a favourite had won the race since 2003, underscoring the challenge of accurately predicting the winner.

French-bred horses are gaining popularity in this event, with seven of the last ten winners fetching double-figure odds.

While classier horses with ratings in the 150s frequently secure placings, a rating of at least 140 is generally requisite for victory.

No horse has managed to win this race twice, but in recent years, Nicky Henderson has trained three of the last ten winners, showcasing his proficiency in preparing contenders for success.

Previous Winners of the Coral Cup

Runners To Watch

Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Coral Cup 2024.

Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.

BALLYADAM – HENRY DE BROMHEAD

Ballyadam has showcased consistent performance across three Festival starts, notably finishing fifth in the last two editions of the County Hurdle, particularly on soft ground last year.

Despite his recent outings over longer distances, including a Grade 1 run, his form remains compelling, hinting at sustained interest in his prospects.

With a win on Day One of the festival, Rachael Blackmore will partner him.

BEACON EDGE – GORDON ELLIOTT

Beacon Edge has demonstrated competence on heavy ground and notably secured fourth place in the Grade 1 Stayers’ race.

However, his recent performances have been inconsistent, with a lackluster showing in last year’s Coral Cup.

While his past successes suggest potential, the handicapper’s treatment has been less forgiving, warranting caution in evaluating his chances.

BENSON – SANDY THOMSON

Benson has shown versatility in his racing style, securing victories both from the front and then coming from behind.

Despite notable successes, his recent form has been erratic, with a disappointing performance in his most recent outing.

A significant improvement is required, especially considering his need for a career-best effort, with the reintroduction of the tongue-tie seeking to enhance his performance.

BLACK BAMBOO – JOHN JOSEPH MURPHY

Black Bamboo, a former bumper winner, has shown promise in his hurdle races, particularly in Cork maiden over two-and-a-half miles.

Although his recent outing saw him finish sixth at Leopardstown, he remains a contender with potential for improvement, especially with the removal of the hood for this race.

BRAZIL – PADRAIG ROCHE

Brazil, winner of the four-year-old handicap at the 2022 Festival, has struggled in his recent hurdle races, despite a gelding operation before his last outing.

However, with a previous Flat win at the Galway Festival, his potential remains uncertain as he ventures beyond an extended two miles for the first time.

BUILT BY BALLYMORE – MARTIN BRASSIL

Built By Ballymore, from the same connections as a previous runner-up in this race, has shown promise in his limited outings, notably securing victories in maiden and novice races.

Despite the need to prove his speed for this race, his impressive performance and potential warrant attention, particularly with the addition of cheek-pieces and a tongue-tie.

DA CAPO GLORY – PADRAIG BUTLER

Da Capo Glory, often ridden by amateur Darragh Allen, secured a narrow victory at Cork in January.

Although his recent performance at Navan was respectable, the addition of headgear for this race raises concerns, especially considering his poor showings in previous major handicaps.

DODDIETHEGREAT – NICKY HENDERSON

Doddiethegreat, despite being an eight-year-old with limited racing experience, has showcased promising performances, including a solid second place at Cheltenham in December.

With an eye-catching late surge in his recent outing at Newbury, he remains a strong contender, particularly with a similar mark and a step up in distance.

FINEST EVERMORE – PAUL HENNESSY

Finest Evermore has displayed a preference for front-running tactics, notably securing a hat-trick in 2020.

Despite limited recent outings, his previous success at Killarney highlights his potential, although his return from injury and change in yard necessitate a career-best performance in this competitive race.

FRANCISCAN ROCK – MOUSE MORRIS

Franciscan Rock’s transition to chasing has been challenging, with underwhelming performances in his recent outings.

Despite a notable third-place finish in a Grade 1 novice race, his overall form raises doubts, particularly on heavy ground.

GUARD YOUR DREAMS – NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES

Guard Your Dreams, although well handicapped based on previous performances, has struggled to replicate past successes.

Despite a recent outing at Cheltenham, his performance on heavy ground at Wincanton raises concerns, especially given the challenging conditions expected in this race.

JIGORO – GORDON ELLIOTT

Jigoro, with limited racing experience, has shown promise in his maiden victory at Navan.

Despite subsequent defeats, his consistent performances suggest potential for improvement, especially with the prospect of stepping up in distance and making his handicap debut.

LANGER DAN – DAN SKELTON

Langer Dan, winner of last year’s race, has shown a decline in form this season.

Despite a diagnosis of ulcers and past success at Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, his recent performances have been lacklustre, raising doubts about his chances in this competitive field.

LOMBRON – WILLIE MULLINS

Lombron, with limited racing experience, has shown promise in his maiden victory at Thurles.

Although he had a disappointing showing at Punchestown, his unexposed nature and step up in trip for this handicap debut present an intriguing prospect.

LUCKY PLACE – NICKY HENDERSON

Lucky Place, despite limited racing experience, has showcased impressive performances, notably finishing second at Taunton and Cheltenham.

With proven stamina over similar distances, he remains a strong contender for further improvement in this handicap debut.

MARK OF GOLD – GARY MOORE

Mark Of Gold, despite a creditable seventh-place finish in the 2023 Martin Pipe, faces a challenging task with a revised career-high mark.

Even with his recent victories at Kempton, his form raises doubts about his ability to compete in this competitive race.

MIGHT I – HARRY FRY

Might I, was fourth in last year’s Martin Pipe, and he possesses strong traveling abilities.

With a transition to fences, his form suggests potential for consideration, especially with a return to hurdling.

RAMBO T – OLLY MURPHY

Despite three wins in 2023, Rambo T faces a challenge with a higher mark and recent unimpressive performances.

Even with a notable third-place finish at Cheltenham, his most recent showing at Ascot raises doubts about his chances in this competitive race.

SA MAJESTE – WILLIE MULLINS

Sa Majeste, with only two starts for Willie Mullins, boasts an impressive performance in his latest outing, defeating high-class competition.

Despite him making his handicap debut, his previous form and strong market support make him a clear contender in this race.

SHANBALLY KID – WILLIE MULLINS

Shanbally Kid, despite limited outings this term, has shown potential with a maiden victory and some other notable performances.

Even with his recent struggles, his unexposed nature and drop in trip present an opportunity for improvement.

WESTERN FOLD – GORDON ELLIOTT

Western Fold, despite limited outings, boasts impressive recent victories.

With a tempting mark in this top handicap and potential for further improvement, he remains a strong contender in this competitive field.

Ticks The Right Boxes?

Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle Tips & Key Trends

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LUCKY PLACE looks sure to run big races given that they have also had exemplary preparations coming into it.

With stable mate, First Street, now a non runner, he could be the one Henderson relies on for another win in the Coral Cup.

With proven stamina over similar distances, and solid form, despite his limited experience, he has never been out of the money.

FINEST EVERMORE is an intriguing contender for a novice. Although he has never been to this course before, his record on left handed tracks is quite remarkable.

It would come as no surprise of he too were to run a massive race for Paul Hennessy.

Key Trends

  • 18 of the 23 winners this century had run 9 times or less over hurdles
  • 11 of the past 14 winners had run at Cheltenham previously (9 of them had finished in the first 4)
  • 12 of the past 16 winners were aged 7 or younger
  • 10 of the past 22 winners were French-bred

Odds With Betfred – correct at time of publication

  • Built By Ballymore 10/3
  • Sa Majeste 9/2
  • Langer Dan 8/1
  • Ballyadam 8/1
  • Doddiethegreat 9/1
  • Brazil 12/1
  • Jigoro 12/1
  • Might I 12/1
  • Shanbally Kid 14/1
  • Lucky Place 20/1
  • Guard Your Dreams 25/1
  • Black Bamboo 25/1
  • Western Fold 28/1
  • Rambo T 33/1
  • Da Capo Glory 33/1
  • Mark Of Gold 40/1
  • Beacon Edge 40/1
  • Finest Evermore 50/1
  • Lombron 50/1
  • Benson 66/1
  • Franciscan Rock 66/1

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