Jumps Season - At The Races

Coral Cup

    Cheltenham, Wednesday 14th March 2018.
  • Stats Guides

Last Year's Winner: Supasundae

Jessica Harrington
Robbie Power
11st 4lb
Starting Price:
Season Form Figures:
Previous Best:
1st – Punchestown Hurdle race, Punchestown (December 2016)

This will be the 25th year of the Coral Cup but the last quarter of a century has not given us many strong patterns, though anyone combining second-season hurdlers that won last time out would have collected on six occasions in the last 15 years. Second-season hurdlers have won ten of the last 13 runnings which is probably the most striking trend. Only two of the last 17 winners had won any more than one handicap.

Prior to Whisper’s victory in 2014, as many as 20 horses rated 150+ had lined up in the previous 20 years with only four placing. However, two of the last four winners were rated 150+ and two more winners if including 2013 were rated 148 which underlines the continuing class factor in the Festival handicaps of late. To be frank, it is not a handicap that trends-based punters have been able to seriously get their teeth into and Aux Ptits Soins didn’t improve matters in 2015 winning on his British debut with Paul Nicholls electing to protect his handicap mark since he last ran in France six months earlier.

An eye-catching 13 of the 24 winners arrived here off the back of a last-time-out success including nine of the last 15 from approximately 20% representation. Only five of the 24 winners had not won at some point earlier in the campaign and the relevance of that statistic is that, on average, between half and two-thirds of the field will enter the Coral Cup without a victory to their name earlier in the season.

An eye-catching 13 of the 24 winners arrived here off the back of a last-time-out success including nine of the last 15 from approximately 20% representation.

The Irish are gunning for a tenth victory following the success of Supasundae last season which is an excellent return given that they are heavily outnumbered. Gordon Elliott was winning his second Coral Cup in 2015 and is sure to have well-fancied runners again. Five of Ireland’s last seven winners had not run since early January, with two of those not seen for over three months and another for over four months. Willie Mullins has yet to train the winner from his 22 runners but he has hit the frame with Fiveforthree, Smashing and Blazer in the last five years.

The last nine winners had run no more than four times earlier in the season (and six winners in total had run no more than just twice) so we don’t really want to be looking to a horse that has been particularly busy. With four of the last 12 winners not having run during the same calendar year, this is an angle I could not put punters off trying to exploit.

The Betfair Hurdle has featured three winners and two runners-up from the last 13 occasions when it has beaten the weather and the Welsh Champion Hurdle has featured two of the last five winners, though that race was moved to much earlier in the season for the last two years. The leading Irish guide has been the Coral Handicap Hurdle over two miles at Leopardstown in January highlighting three winners stretching back to Time For A Run in 1994, though none since Xenophon 15 years ago.

After having a terrible Coral Cup record up until Spirit River won in 2010, following Nicky Henderson won two of the last eight runnings joining Philip Hobbs who has also won it twice in addition to posting five other top-six finishers from 24 runners.

Just one outright winning favourite (Xenophon in 2003) and one joint-favourite (Olympian in the inaugural running) have justified their market support and we have to go back to 1995 to find the only winner aged older than nine when Chance Coffey won, though Taquin du Seuil and Monksland both placed as ten-year-olds last season having been chasing earlier in the season.

At a glance summary

Second-season hurdlers
A last-time-out winner
Won no more than one handicap
Trained in Ireland (notably Gordon Elliott)
Contested the Betfair Hurdle
Aged 10+
Failed to win earlier in the season
Ran 5+ times earlier in the season

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