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2021 Coral Cup Tips – Top trainers to taste further success in Ladies’ Day handicap

  • We’ve published our guide to the 2021 Coral Cup
  • This handicap hurdle is the third race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Grand Roi leads the way in the betting and looks a good bet at 6/1
  • Craigneiche is our second selection at 20/1
Craigneiche
Holloways Handicap winner Craigneiche is one of our tips in the Coral Cup. (Getty)
Jon Vine 15 Mar 2021
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The third race on Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival is the Coral Cup. This two-mile-five-furlong handicap hurdle is always one of the most open and competitive races of the meeting, and it hasn’t been kind on punters down the years. Although Dame De Compagnie was backed to the top of the market before winning 12 months ago, she’s the only favourite to have won the Coral Cup this century.

Seven of the last 11 renewals of this handicap have been won by either Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins, so it’s easy to see why their runners dominate the current betting.

2021 Coral Cup Odds


Name
Odds
Grand Roi7/1
Koshari10/1
Great White Shark12/1
Wide Receiver14/1
Allart16/1
Monte Cristo16/1
Bar20/1

*Odds taken on 6/3/21*

2021 Coral Cup Trends


I’ve cast my eye through the last decade of results for this handicap and picked out three key recurring trends.

  • 9 of the last ten winners had run no more than nine times under rules during their careers
  • 9 of the last ten winners had never won or won just one handicap race
  • 8 of the last ten winners were rated between 139 and 149

The lowest rated horse to get into last year’s contest entered on a mark of 138. 55 of the current 109 entries are rated either 138 or higher, making it highly unlikely that any horses rated under that number will make the cut for this year’s renewal.

2021 Coral Cup Tips – Grand Roi


Grand Roi2021 Coral Cup Tip 1GET 7/1 HERE
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GRAND ROI has the ideal profile for the Coral Cup, and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing the market leader. Having won twice for Nicky Henderson last season, Grand Roi was snapped up by the Moran's and immediately sent to Gordon Elliott’s stable.

Since the move, Elliott has thrown his recruit into three Graded races. Grand Roi finished a five-length third behind Stayers' Hurdle contender Beacon’s Edge on his stable debut, before claiming an eight-length victory in the Grant Thornton Hurdle over two miles at Limerick.

Last time out, Jack Kennedy’s mount finished second to Bachasson in the Limestone Lad Hurdle. Grand Roi was, however, giving the winner seven pounds at the weights, and did manage to turn the tables on Beacon’s Edge, who finished a length behind him in third.

Grand Roi was touched off in a Listed bumper around Cheltenham for Nicky Henderson last season, and shapes like he should stay this trip. The British Handicapper could have handed Gordon Elliott’s, or should we now say, Denise Foster’s runner a mark higher than the 149 he’s been given. He has to be in with a big shout.

grand roi
Grand Roi winning at Warwick when still with Nicky Henderson last season. (Getty)

2021 Coral Cup Tips – Craigneiche


Craigneiche E/W2021 Coral Cup Tip 2GET 20/1 HERE
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Nicky Henderson has trained three winners and two placers in the Coral Cup in the last seven years. In a recent stable tour, Henderson said that Buzz and Monte Cristo will be two of his three runners in this year’s race. 

Monte Cristo won impressively at Kempton last time out, but he was still very green and novicey that day, and I’m not sure running on day two of the Cheltenham Festival will suit.

Buzz has been in fantastic form this season and will take to this trip. Whether he can content under top-weight – bearing in mind only three horses in the 28-year history of the race have won carrying more than 11-9 – is another question. If a claiming jockey was booked to ride Buzz, like Kevin Brogan was in the Betfair Hurdle, I’d be very interested.

The third Nicky Henderson runner in this year’s race will be CRAIGNEICHE. Like Monte Cristo, he’ll have a 12-pound rise at the weights to overcome, having hacked up at Ascot on his reappearance. However, Henderson’s seven-year-old has only raced four times in his entire career so far, and there’s plenty of reason to suggest he’s open to further improvement.

Having stayed on under an educational ride to place third behind The Big Breakaway on his hurdles debut last season, Craigneiche claimed a maiden victory at Doncaster. Henderson’s charge bled from the nose that day, and wasn’t seen again until the Holloway’s Handicap on Clarence House day at Ascot in January. 

Tom Cannon found a prominent position behind Paddy's Motorbike, who took the field along at a decent lick. Henderson’s bottom-weight hit the front turning for home, and pounded up the hill at Ascot to seal an impressive seven-length victory. 

Craigneiche is a solid jumper, and has proven himself a strong finisher during his short career. He’ll sneak into the Coral Cup right at the bottom of the weights, and certainly has the ability to challenge in this wide-open renewal.
US

Verdict

Grand Roi looks a worthy favourite, and Buzz is of definite interest, but it's Nicky Henderson's Craigneiche who's our best bet at 20/1.

2021 Coral Cup Tip 1: Grand Roi Straight Win @600.00 at BetMGM - 10 Units
2021 Coral Cup Tip 2: Craigneiche Each-Way @2000.0 at bet365 Sport NJ - 8 Units

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