Coral Cup Tips – 25/1 Outsider Has Massive Chance In Cavalry Charge

Thousands of people will descend on the Cotswolds for the latest Cheltenham Festival, from novice racegoers through to veteran attendees.

Thousands of people will descend on the Cotswolds for the latest Cheltenham Festival, from novice racegoers through to veteran attendees.

2021 Coral Cup Tips

It’s the turn of the handicaps to be assessed by Daniel Overall and the latest one to be tackled is the Coral Cup, one of the contests on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival. A full field can be expected.

2021 Coral Cup Overview

A high-quality handicap, Nicky Henderson claimed his fourth victory in the race last season with Dame De Compagnie, with three of those wins coming in the last seven renewals. It can be a tricky race for punters, with eight of the last ten winners returning at double-figure odds.

Cream Rises to the Top

Those towards the top of the ratings have been performing well in recent renewals, with nine of the last 12 winners coming from the top eight in the weights. Of those to have finished in the top four in the previous five renewals, 14 were rated 144-153. With that in mind, it can pay to focus on those with a low number on their saddle cloth.

Fourth in the 2019 Ballymore, Brewin’upastormwas 6/1 for last year’s Arkle; he unseated at the fourth from home that day and he finished last on his two starts over fences this season, resulting in connections reverting to hurdles. He won a handicap over the smaller obstacles in January off 148 by eleven lengths; now off 155, a mark that would’ve made him the topweight in the last three renewals, this race seems to be a logical target for him. 

Henderson’s Hopefuls

As the leading trainer in this race with four wins since 2010, Nicky Henderson’s runners will undoubtedly attract plenty of attention, although it is worth noting that he’s had 36 runners in the race in the last 12 renewals. 

With only three starts over hurdles, Craigneiche (20/1) will be one of the least experienced in the line-up but he’ll arrive here on the back of an impressive win at Ascot off 127. Easy to back after getting worked up in the preliminaries, it’s a positive for his chances that there won’t be a crowd at Cheltenham although he will have to contend with a 12lb rise. His mark of 139 should allow him to squeeze in at the foot of the weights and with his trainer confirming that this is his likely target, he warrants respect.

Sixth in last season’s Coral Cup, Mill Green (16/1) is another possible runner having made an encouraging reappearance in an all-weather bumper, as is Monte Cristo. The latter beat a subsequent winner comfortably on his most recent run this season and has always been held in high regard. Simon Munir and Isaac Souede have other potential runners in the experienced duo, Janika (50/1) and Call Me Lord (20/1). 

Returning from fences

Interestingly, horses who had run over fences in the same season have performed well in the Coral Cup. In the past five renewals, nine horses who ran over fences earlier in the season finished in the first four of this race; an impressive record given their minimal representation and a plus for the aforementioned Brewin’upastorm.

Another one to note in that mould is Janidil (25/1) who was last seen falling in the Flogas at the Dublin Racing Festival. He did make a very encouraging debut over fences, beating a host of subsequent winners. Third in the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice having made plenty of jumping mistakes, it would seem sensible to switch him back to the smaller obstacles. Fifth in last season’s Albert Bartlett under a patient ride, a race which has worked out very well, he was allocated a BHA mark of 149 last season; he has a good profile for the race and if he was too be given a similar mark, he’d have a good chance of adding to JP McManus’s three wins in the race.

Gordon’s Good Record

You’d be inclined to associate Gordon Elliott with the Martin Pipe more than the Coral Cup but he does have a good record in this race; he’s had two winners with a further five hitting the frame from 17 runners since 2011. Grand Roi (20/1) was purchased for £400,000 in July of last year following an impressive season as a juvenile hurdler for Nicky Henderson. A Grade 2 winner over two miles, he was given a BHA mark of 146 having been provisionally entered at Musselburgh in early February. 

Column of Fire (25/1) broke the hearts of many with his final flight fall in last season’s Martin Pipe when holding every chance of winning. Rated 144 in Ireland and with his previous festival effort, he’s unlikely to qualify for the Martin Pipe so the Coral Cup is a possible alternative. Well beaten on his sole start this season, he was very weak in the market and he ran a desperately poor race. You’d be placing a lot of faith in Gordon’s ability to get him back to his best, but that might not be the worst strategy.

Fourth in last year’s race, Cracking Smart’s (50/1) mark has slowly been coming down after a string of disappointing runs, while last season’s runner up Black Tears finished a respectable third behind the Mares’ Hurdle favourite Concertista when last seen. She’ll be a few pounds higher this year but she would be a major player if lining up.

Others to Note

Koshari ran a very eyecatching race in a competitive handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival when last seen under an extremely patient ride, staying on under hands and heels to finish sixth. That was just his second run since an absence of 875 days and while he is a nine-year-old, he’s only had 11 starts for Willie Mullins since 2016 so there could be more to come. The Ricci’s also own Five O’Clock (20/1) who hasn’t been seen this season but he did finish a fair seventh in last season’s Martin Pipe.

Benson (20/1) won a listed handicap hurdle off 127 earlier in the season before finishing a respectable fourth to Not So Sleepy on his most recent start. Having raced exclusively over the minimum distance, he shaped as if he’s ready for a step up in trip last time out. Off his current mark of 137, he wouldn’t have made the cut in three of the last six renewals so it is touch and go as to whether he’ll get in this year, although connections are also likely to enter him in the Martin Pipe.

Coral Cup Big-Race Verdict

A tough race to decipher at this stage. If running here, Janidil would hold a good chance. A horse with a touch of class, he still has scope for improvement and considering three of his last four starts came in Grade 1 company, he’s clearly held in high regard, with Willie Mullins even stating earlier in the season that he could make up into an Arkle contender. He shaped well in last season’s Albert Bartlett although this intermediate trip should suit him better.