• Coral Cup Hurdle

    Only 4 winners ever were previous course winners. All 4 trained by N Henderson

    Five of the last six won by Irish trained or N Henderson

    Six of the last eight rated at least 143

    Five of the last six Irish trained winners had last run in a conditions race

    Dame De Compagnie and Xenophon 2003 only clear favs to win

    Only 3 winners this century had more than 9 previous hurdle runs

    No winner older than 8 since 2007

    No horse has won two of these.

    9 of the last 11 had previously run at Cheltenham

    None of the last 13 more than 4 previous runs that season

    Summary

    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5f. 5 yr olds can punch above their numbers. Will be aged 5 to 7 unless a Henderson trained previous course winner. Nothing placed above a 10 yr old unless previous Festival winner. Winner rated at least 140. Irish trained beginning to take over. Carrying at least 11st. Will have won somewhere a race between 2m 1f and 2m 6f. If not successful over a minimum of 2m 4f will be aged 7 or under and have been placed in graded company or won a £20k hurdle in France. Will have won at least Class 3 but not English Graded hurdle. Has not won more than one handicap. Hasn't run more than 4 times this season. Unless Irish Trained, unlikely to have run at previous Festival. If Irish check Dublin Racing Festival form. Will not be more than seven pounds out of the handicap (including jockeys allowances). Either no more than 10 runs over hurdles or returned 12/1 and under. Clear fav won last year but shorter priced winners still underrepresented. Respect JP McManus owned, French bred. Shouldn't be a course winner unless or beaten favourite last time unless trained by N Henderson. Has won sometime this season or was placed in last years festival. No headgear wearer unless first time or Henderson. Davy Russell knows how to win this. A conditional has yet to. Horses rated 150+ beginning to get placed.

     

    Maximum number of runners has been dropped to 26 from 28. Won't really help.

     

  • Honours Board

    Year||| Form||| Winner |||Age||| Weight |||OR||| SP |||Trainer |||Jockey||| Last Race (No of days)

    2020|||51||| Dame de Compagnie||| 5||| 10-12 |||140||| 5/1F||| N Henderson |||B Geraghty||| 1st Chelt M H'cap Hdle (88)

    2019 |||P||| William Henry |||9||| 11-10||| 151||| 28/1||| N Henderson |||N de Boinville||| PU Cl2 Winc H'cap Hdle (77)

    2018 |||0||| Bleu Berry||| 7||| 11-2||| 143||| 20/1 |||W Mullins(IRE)||| M Walsh||| 17th Leop Lstd H'cap Hdle (40)

    2017 |||8124||| Supasundae||| 7||| 11-4||| 148||| 16/1 |||J Harrington(IRE)||| R Power |||4th G2 Navan Boyne Hdle (24)

    2016||| 421||| Diamond King||| 8||| 11-3||| 149||| 12/1 |||G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||1st Pnchstwn 11k Rated Hdle (67)

    2015||| 31 |||Aux Ptits Soins||| 5||| 10-7 |||139||| 9/1 |||P Nicholls||| Sam Twiston-Davies||| 1st 19k Auteuil Hdle (178)

    2014||| 3312 |||Whisper||| 6||| 11-6 |||153||| 14/1||| N Henderson||| Nico de Boinville |||2nd Ffos Llas Welsh Champion Hdle (39)

    2013||| 2241 |||Medinas||| 6 |||11-10||| 148||| 33/1 |||A King||| W Hutchinson |||1st Ffos Llas Champion Hdle (39)

    2012|||090 |||Son of Flicka||| 8 |||10-6 |||135||| 16/1 |||D McCain |||J Maguire||| 13th Kempton Cl2 Lanzarote Hdle (60)

    2011||| 2102 |||Carlito Brigante||| 5||| 11-0 (2ow)||| 140 |||16/1 |||G Elliott(IRE)||| D Russell |||2nd 11k F'house Rated Hdle (46)

    Evidence

    AGE - 5 YR OLDS - Last year 5 ran best Alfa Mix in 7th. 2020, 6 ran, best Apples Shakira in 6th, four others pulled up. 2018 only Mischievous Max in 9th. Not a fine performance in the past three years. In 2017 four ran, best was Who Dares Wins 33s finished third. 2016 4th and 5th from 4 runners both under 12s. 2015 1st and 3rd from 5 runners (fav and 2nd fav). In 2014 5 ran achieving 3rd, 4th and 5th (the fav). 2013 and 2012 no five year old finished in top 6. 10 ran between the two years including the fav on both occasions. In 2011 it was 7 from 22. They finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. '10 - 1st, 3rd and 5th from the six of the age group in the 28 strong field. '09 finished 3rd and 4th from seven of that age. The improvement in performance stat began in ’06 when the E. O'Grady trained Sky’s The Limit led home a 1-2-4-5 for 5yr olds.

     

    152 horses aged 8 or over have run in the last 19 or circa 33% of total runners. 9 from 25 last year, 11 from 25 2019. 23 have been placed in the first four, 30% of total places. Four winners. Cracking Smart an eight year old in 4th last year at 33s (after a poor enough ride, left at the start, said my pocket). In 2019 the first four home were three English trained eight yr olds and Wicklow Brave (RIP) at 10 yrs. Poor Patrick just couldn't hang on to him for a split second more before making his run. Great winning ride by Nico. 2018 best William Henry 4th at 8/1 jt fav getting a sighter for 2019. 5 elder statespeople ran that year. 2017 Taquin De Seuil and Monksland finished 2nd and 4th respectively as 10 yr olds. 7 from 26 in 2016 achieved a 1-2-3 for eight year olds. Only 3 ran in 2015 best Bears Affair in 6th. 9 from 28 in 2014 when Get Me Out Of Here was nutted on the line as a 10 yr old. Rest unplaced. Fiveforthree 3rd in 2012 after a year off at 149 at age 11. Qualifiers placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in 2012. You can't dismiss them.

    Therefore 14 from last 18 aged between 5 and 7 yrs (except William Henry Diamond King, Son Of Flicka and Burntoakboy)

     

    Taquin De Seuil joins Get Me Out Of Here to be only British trained 10 yr olds or older ever to be placed (twelve others have tried over the last ten races including three well down the field last year). Fiveforthree only 11 yr old placed in last 16 races.

     

    WEIGHT Used to not to back anything over 11st. Not now with the compressed handicap. 15 of the 25 carried over 11st last year, bottom weight 10st 10lbs. 2nd and 4th over 11st. 14 of the 25 runners in 2019, bottom weight only 10st 6lbs. First three home 2019 carried 11st 10lb, 11st 12 and 11st 7 respectively. 2017 bottom weight 10st 8lbs Bleu Berry carried 11st 2 lbs to win, Topofthegame 11st 9lbs in 3rd, 4th was William Henry with 11st 10lb. 2017 bottom weight was 10st 6 lb. First four home all carried at least 11st 2lb. 2016 it was 10st 7lb, Diamond King only one of first six home to carry more than 11st. 2015 bottom weight was 10 st 6lb Actival 3rd off 11st 1lb, 2014 bottom weight 10st 7, 3 out of the first 4 home carried over 11st, 2013 first four home carried over 11st - bottom weight 10st 10. 2010 handicap went from 11st 12 to 10st 1lb. 1st, 3rd and 4th home all over 11st.

     

    To summarise eight of the last eleven winners carried at least 11st.

     

    RATINGS - Dame De Compagnie 140, William Henry 151, Bleu Berry 143. Whisper at 153 beat Medinas's 12 month old rating record of 148 (Monkerhostin '04 147). Supasundae 148 Diamond King 149. Before those four, all winners rated between 128 and 147. (Son of Flicka 135, Carlito Brigante 142, Spirit River 141). Aux Ptit Soins rated 139 and probably kept difficult for the handicapper as he had only ever run three times in France. Eleven from the last twelve rated at least 139. Six of the last eight at least 143. Remember bottom weight last year rated as high as 138. Both winners rated in the 150s trained by N Henderson. In the last four runnings 5 horses rated in the 150s got a place in the top six, William Henry winning. Prices for the five were 33s, 28s, 28s, 9s and 16s.

     

    PREVIOUS RUNS THAT SEASON - None of the last 12 out more than 4 times that season. Dame De Compagnie twice, William Henry and Bleu Berry just the once, Supasundae 4 runs, Diamond King 3, Aux Ptits Soins two in France but zero in the UK. I don't count Punchestown Festival as being 'this season'. 

     

    15 of the last 18 no more than 10 runs over hurdles. Dame de Compagnie 7, William Henry 8, Bleu Berry only six, Supasundae had 8 previous hurdle runs. Son of Flicka (returned 16s) had 22 previous hurdle runs and the other two exceptions were from the top four in the betting. None of N Henderson's four Coral Cup winners more than nine previous hurdle runs in total. Only three winners this century had run in more than 9 hurdle races. (Son Of Flicka, the most recent one, on 22 previous runs.

     

    Since 2002 only William Henry, Bleu Berry and Son Of Flicka had not won that season. William Henry hadn't won for over two years. Bleu won a G2 novice at Fairyhouse in the previous season. Only winner since 2004 to have previously won a Graded race. Dame de Compagnie and William Henry had previously won at Listed level. Son Of Flicka finished second to Sir Des Champs in previous years Martin Pipe.

     

    11 from last 16 were second season hurdlers (exceptions Dame de Compagnie, William H, Diamond King, Son of Flicka and Burntoakboy). No novice has won this since Whats Up Boys in 2000.

     

    FORM - 18 from last 21 had won in UK or Ire between 2m 2f and 2m 6f over hurdles (Not Carlito nor Aux Ptit Soins, Spirit River had done so in France).
     

    18 from the last 22 had won previously no more than one handicap.
     

    Only 5 winners this century had previously run at the Festival. William Henry 4th in this 2018, Supasundae finished 7th to Altior in that really good 2016 Supreme. 9 of the past 11 had ran on the course previously. Not Bleu Berry, nor Aux Ptit Soins.

     

    No horse has won two of these. Dame de Compagnie, William Henry

     

    Ten from last 19 winners were French breds from about 30% of total runners. It's increasing. 11 from 25 in both of the last two years though in 2019 none finished in the first three, 2018 nine from the 26 resulting in 1st and 3rd. In 2017 Supasundae by Galileo GB Bred, only three French bred in the race were Taquin Du Seuil and two W Mullins outsiders. Irish bred 1-2 in 2016, French breds 3rd, 4th and 5th from 10 qualifiers.

     

    Only six from the last 11 finished 1st or 2nd last time. However, 10 of the last 18 winners won last time out from under 20% of runners. Only five qualifiers from 25 last year resulting in a 1-3-4. Six qualifiers 2019 Brio Conti best in 4th. Three qualifiers 2018, best Topofthegame in 2nd. 2017 there were 6 qualifiers, best Modus in 6th. One of the last time out winners was Tombstone the 7/2 jolly who finished 22nd of 23 finishers. 2016 only four qualifiers produced the winner, 2015 only 5 qualifiers including 1st and 2nd. 2013 5 qualifiers produced 1st and 4th.

     

    18 from last 23 achieved a top six finish last time (Not William Henry PU, Bleu 17th, not Son Of Flicka 13th, Spirit River 17th).

     

    FESTIVAL HANDICAP WINNERS WHO WON LAST TIME OUT - 2014 3 from 5, 2015 3 from 5 (the other two were trained by W Mullins), 2016 and 2017 only one from five although three runners up won last time. 2017, 4 of the five winners were Irish trained, if you remember all that weeping at the about high handicap marks from the British handicapper. 2018 only one of the five won last time out but again four handicap hurdle winners were Irish trained, three by G Elliott. I'd worry more about that. Only one from five 2019, Band Of Outlaws. 2020 4 out of 5 handicap hurdles won by last time out winners. Sire De Berlais the exception in the Pertemps.

     

    Irish handicap marks can be gauged on how much whingeing this is emanating from Kevin Blake. His ATR blog will be a good guide to how Irish trained handicappers are being 'robbed.' If his tone is 'it's not too bad', they are thrown in. Again. And again.

     

    Whisper '14 joined Top Cees '98 the only winners of this to be beaten favourite last time. Three last year, none finished closer than 16th including the 8/1 third favourite, the novice Champagne Well. Five in 2019, best Ballyandy in 3rd and including Uradel, the favourite. Two unplaced 2018, including Max Dynamite joint-favourite. Scoir Mear only one in 2017 finished 5th. 4 tried in 2016, best Long House Hall in second. In 1998 I remember such a hullabaloo because the Ramsdens didn't seem to try too hard with Top Cees in its prep run at Ayr when he was fav. I was standing at the unsaddling enclosure after the Coral Cup when Top Cees, the winner, was soundly booed in. Mrs Ramsden even ducked her head at the abuse as she led in her winner.

     

    Betfair Hurdle has featured 3 winners and 3 runners up. But not recently. Blazer unpl 3/1 fav at Newbury finished 4th here in 2016. Activial was third at Newbury and then third here 2015. Of the horses who won this without winning last time, two of them ran respectable races in that year's Newbury race Idole first and Spirit River 'going well when blundered 3 out, eased', 'mistake and one paced last, finished 6th'. Monkerhostin '04 only one placed at Newbury before success here. In 2017 or 2016 none of the first four from Newbury came to this race. Flying Angel, 3rd at Newbury 2016 won the Imperial Cup at Sandown before finishing second in the Martin Pipe Conditionals. Nothing came to this in the last 3 years from Newbury.

     

    9 of the 27 winners not previously successful over a minimum of 2 miles 4 furlongs. However, all 9 (five Irish) were 7 years or under and 7 had been previously placed in Graded company. Supasundae 2nd to Sutton Place in a Navan G3. (Not Spirit River nor Aux Ptit Soins, both of whom has won £20k hurdles in France in the previous 12 months).

     

    22 from last 23 had won at Class 3 or higher. Giving that to Aux Ptit Soins. Supasundae had won a Listed Bumper.

     

    14 from last 16 not seen for at least 32 days. Dame De Companie not seen since the International meeting, William Henry 77 days from Wincanton on Boxing Day, that fella Henderson can train. Bleu Berry 39 days (Dublin Racing Festival) Supasundae 24 days, Diamond King 67 days, Aux Ptit Soins, a real Nicholls plot, had not ran for 6 months. Sam Twiston Davies was on a real Festival losing run at the time, said he felt 'terrified' when all stable connections told him Aux Ptit was a certainty. After that relief, 30 minutes later won the Queen Mother on Dodging Bullets. Sam is a streak jockey.

     

    Court Shareef at 200/1 ’04 only one from more than 7 lbs out of the handicap have been placed (when taking jockeys claims into account). Those days unlikely to be seen again.

     

    Loads of big prices. I have lived long enough. Dame De Compagnie becomes the first clear favourite to win since Xenophon in '03 2019 William Henry at 28s from Wicklow Brave 28s. Winner paid £41 on the Tote. Bleu Berry 20s (34/1 on the Tote) Supasundae 16s (25s on tote), Whisper 14s, Medinas 33s (40s on tote, but gettable he smugly aftertimes) Son of Flicka 66s on eve of race (owner said he won a million when interviewed on RUK). Both Dame De Compagnie and Xenophon '03 the Pricewise on the day selection. Olympian a joint favourite in '93. Diamond King 12/1 was another Pricewise Selection at 10s and drifted. Tom's only winner of the first two days in 2016. In 2015 Aux Ptit Soins jousted for favouritism with Activial before drifting to 9/1 close to the off.

     

    N Hendersons' four winners, Dame De Compagnie, William Henry, Whisper and Spirit River to be only winners of this ever to be previous Cheltenham course winners. Dame De had won twice here. Nine others ran last year, best finisher after the Dame was 8th. 10 others ran in 2019, including 2nd and 3rd Wicklow Brave and Ballyandy, both previous Festival winners. (26 others have run in the previous five, only William Henry, The Taq and Long House Hall placed).

     

    CITIPOST NOVICE HURDLE - To be looked out for. Both William Henry and Whisper in the Dai Walters colours won The 2m 4f Citipost Novice Hurdle run at Cheltenham in April. Not this year. Whisper won it the season before his Coral Cup win, William Henry two years before his. Spirit River no longer a novice when came to Seven Barrows from France. The Citipost Novice hurdle has some role of honour. Won by Might Bite, Garde La Victoire, Restless Harry amongst others. Medinas was beaten in it. Captain Sunshine won it the year before coming second in the 2013 Pertemps. In 2019 the Citipost was won by Dashel Drasher. Third home was the Henderson trained Mill Green, a good winner since at Sandown. (Didn't run in this but interestingly though, in 2020 Betfair, Mill Green PU, then a fast finishing 6th in the Martin Pipe at 66s.)

     

    Last front runner to win was Olympian '93. Dame De Compagnie 'midfield, always going well. William Henry 'from the clouds, at least 8th jumping the last, led post.' Bleu Berry 'held up', swooped with a lovely ride by last minute replacement Mark Walsh after Ruby got injured with Al Boum Photo in the RSA. Supasundae 'chased leaders', Whisper was 'always in the leading group'. Diamond King 'held up in midfield'. First two home 2015 were always 'in the van'.

     

    J.P. McManus’s record is 3 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds and three fourths. He does tend to run a few, though. (five last year, the right one for money won, 8s to 5s fav, 7th the best after the Dame. Two in 2019, Apples Shakira somehow punted into 10/1 finished 6th. Two in 2018 best The Organist 25s in 5th. Five in 2017, best Scoir Mear in 5th, Blazer 4th 2016, two unplaced 2015, Get Me Out Of Here 2nd 2014, 2013 Pendra 6/1 fav unpl, '12 Get Me Out Of Here 6/1 jt fav finished 2nd off 11st 12lb, Silverhand 4th at 25s)

     

    Irish trained - Have won the three of the last five with three different trainers. Getting more numbers in now 13 from 25 last year resulting in a 2-3-4. 12 from 25 last year, six in both years were Willie's Wicklow Brave the hero behind William Henry. 2018 Eight from the 27 runners, five for Willie, two for Gordon achieved 1st and 3rd. 2017 12 runners from the 25, a huge proportion. 1st, 4th, 5th. English trained not good enough to get in? 2016 5 runners, 1st and 4th. 2015 8 runners 2nd at 25/1, 4th at 14s. 2014 again 8 runners, 3rd and 4th. 2013, a third place from five. 2012 - A 4th place from 4 triers, 2011 - 1st from 3. 8 winners and loads of places in the 26 renewals Numbers now getting up to 50% and at the top end of the handicap. 6 of the last 8 Irish trained winners (and the five of their last five placed horses) not seen out since 4th Feb. Both 1st and 3rd in 2018 last run was at the Dublin Racing Festival. 2019 Wicklow Brave's last run as to be second to Espoir D'Allen at Naas 27th January. Which you attended Bryan, and watched, and ignored.

     

    G ELLIOTT - 17 runners in the past decade, 2 winners, 5 placed. 3 runners last year Black Tears 12/1 2nd, Cracking Smart 33/1 in 4th after a tardy start.

     

    9 of the last 12 were in the top 8 in the weights.

     

    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC- Dame De Compagnie hood and William Henry cheekpieces join Sky's The Limit to be the only winning headgear wearers of this. There have been 107 triers over the last seventeen, Sky's The Limit in a first-time visor (had been blinkered in France). 20 ran over the last two years, 8 ran in 2018, best William Henry 4th in first time cheekpieces. 6 in 2017, best Monksland in 3rd. 6 tried in 2016. Best finisher was 8th. 2014, Whisper's year, 2nd and 3rd home wore cheekpieces.

     

    OTHER TRAINERS - Pipe stable has had 3 wins and 3 seconds in this but little luck since the silence that welcomed Ilnamar home ’02 (92/1 on the Tote). Last four years and in 2013 the Pipes had nothing good enough to run in the Coral Cup. Changed times indeed. Dell' Arca on its own unpl in both 2015 and 2014. E O'Grady has trained two winners carrying 11st 8 and 11st 12 respectively. Not many recent runners.

    N Henderson's four make him top trainer in this, 4 wins in the last eleven. Before 2010, 0 from 23 with only 3 placed.

     

    A King has had one winner and 4 placed from 20 runners, three unplaced in 2018. No runners last two years. P Hobbs trained Whats Up Boys in 2000 to be the only successful novice in this. Don't know whether to call Aux Ptit Soins a novice?

    Aux Ptit Soins broke P Nicholls's duck in this race. Has had eight runners in this over the past six years. All bar one finished in the first seven.

     

    JOCKEYS Three conditional jockeys have won this in its 26-year history. Nico de Boinvile on Whisper first since Sam Jones on Burntoakboy. Three ran last year, the Brouder brothers finishing a very respectable 3rd and 4th. Two finished well down the field in 2019. Four tried in 2018, James Bowen (3) on William Henry, three in 2017, best Donagh Meyler in 4th. three tried in 2016, all unplaced. 2015 Peter Carberry (3) best in 5th. Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell have each won this three times. W Mullins broke his duck in 2018. Ruby never won it. 'Hated the race' he said, on that walk around the course programme with Lydia. AP never won it either.

     

    Any bookie who doesn't pay at least 5 places in this, is stealing from you. Paddy Power went 7 places last year.

     

    NEXT RACE>

     

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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. 

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.