• Coral Cup Hurdle



    Only two British trained horses older than 9 years have ever been placed

    Five of the last six had handicap ratings of at least 143

    16 from the last 18 had won no more than one handicap

    14 of the last 16 had won a race this season

    Only 4 winners this century had previously competed at the Festival

    No winner since 2004 had previously won a UK Graded race

    No horse has won two of these

    Irish Trained won the last three. 1st and 3rd in 2018 ran at the Dublin Festival

    Ruby Walsh yet to win this.



    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5f. 5 yr olds and can punch above their numbers. Will be aged 5 to 7 unless 16s or under. Nothing placed above a 10 yr old unless previous Festival winner. Winner rated at least 139. Irish trained beginning to dominate. Likely to carry 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 ran 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 favourite is well overdue. Respect JP McManus owned, French bred. Shouldn't be a course winner or beaten favourite last time unless trained by N Henderson. Has won sometime this season or was placed in last years festival. Second season hurdler. No headgear unless first time and well punted. Davy Russell knows how to win this. R Walsh yet to be lucky.


    Maximum number of runners has been dropped to 26 from 28.


  • Evidence

    AGE - 5 YR OLDS - We used to avoid them. Last year only Mischievous Max in 9th. 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. Despite last year would suggest that they continue to punch weight above their numbers.


    132 horses aged 8 or over have run in the last 17 or circa 33% of total runners. 18 have been placed in the first four, 26% of total places. Three winners. Last year best William Henry 4th at 8/1 jt fav. 5 ran last year. Taquin De Seuil (RIP) 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. Placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in 2012. You can't dismiss them.

    13 from last 16 aged between 5 and 7 yrs (except 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 (eight others have tried over the last nine races). Fiveforthree only 11 yr old placed in last 15 races.


    WEIGHT Used to not to back anything over 11st. Not now with the compressed handicap. Last year bottom weight 10st 8lbs Bleu Berry carried 11st 2 lbs, 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.

    The trend seems to be that seven of the last nine carried at least 11st.


    It is also true to say that 16 of the last 24 winners carried less than 11st 3. Six others were Irish trained. Exceptions were Whisper 11st 11lbs and Medinas 11st 10lb. Both placed previously in the 30k Welsh Champion Hurdle H'cap at Ffos Las. Now changed to run in October over 2 miles. Won this season by Silver Streak from Le Prezien.


    RATINGS - Bleu Berry 143. Whisper at 153 beat Medinas's 12 month 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. Nine from last ten rated at least 139. Five of the last six at least 143.


    PREVIOUS RUNS None of the last 10 out more than 4 times that season. Bleu Berry just the once, (decent trainer that guy), Supasundae 4 runs, Sorry but I don't count Punchestown Festival as being 'this season'. Before that we had Monkerhostin (5), Sky’s The Limit (5) and Burntoakboy (6).

    15 of the last 18 no more than 10 runs over hurdles. Bleu Berry only six, Supasundae had 8 previous hurdle runs. Son of Flicka (returned 16s) had 22 previous hurdle runs and the other two were from the top four in the betting.


    Since 2002 only Bleu Berry and Son Of Flicka had not won that season. Bleu won a G2 novice at Fairyhouse in the previous season. First winner since 2004 to have previously won a Graded race. Son Of finished second to Sir Des Champs in previous years Martin Pipe Conditional.


    11 from last 14 were second season hurdlers (exceptions Diamond King, Son of Flicka and Burntoakboy). No novices.


    FORM - 17 from last 20 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).

    16 from the last 20 had won previously no more than one handicap.

    Only 4 winners this century had previously ran at the Festival. Supasundae finished 7th to Altior in that really good Supreme 2016.


    No horse has won two of these. Bleu Berry


    Nine from last 17 were French breds from about 20% of total runners. Nine from the 26 runners last year were French bred. Supasundae by Galileo GB Bred, only three French bred in race were Taquin Du Seuil and two W Mullins outsiders. Irish breds 1-2 in 2016, French breds 3rd, 4th and 5th from 10 qualifiers.


    9 from the last 16 winners of this race won last time out from under 20% of runners. Three qualifiers last year, best Topofthegame in 2nd. 2017 there were 6 qualifiers, best Modus in 6th. Didn't help. 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. 2014 3 last time out winners all unpl. 2013 5 qualifiers produced 1st and 4th. 2012 No last time winners placed. In 2011 Battle Group in 4th was first home from the last time out winners, if you get my drift.


    18 from last 22 achieved a top six finish last time (Not Bleu 17th, not Son Of Flicka 13th).


    Nice stat from Betting Guide produced by Matt Tombs, (@thespieler). About half of the winners of handicap hurdles at the festival since 1993 won last time out from about 20% of total runners. 3 out of 5 '09, unfortunately stat not working 2010-2012 when only 4 of the 15 handicap winners filled this stat. 2013 2 from 5, 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 about high handicap marks. 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. Irish handicap marks can be gauged on how much crying Kevin Blake does on the excellent Final Furlong Podcast. Last year there was little or none from our 'aah staap' Kevin.


    Whisper joined Top Cees '98 the only winners of this to be beaten favourite last time in a handicap hurdle. Two unplaced last year, 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 there was a hullabaloo because the Ramsdens didn't seem to try too hard with Top Cees in its prep at Ayr when 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.


    Of the horses who won this without winning last time, two of them ran respectable races in that year's Betfair Hurdle, '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 last year from Newbury.

    Betfair Hurdle has featured 3 winners and 3 runners up. But not recently. Blazer unpl 3/1 fav at Newbury finished 4th here. Actival was third at Newbury and then third here.


    9 of the 25 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).


    19 from last 20 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. Bleu Berry 39 days (Dublin Racing Festival) Supasundae 24 days, Diamond King 67 days, Aux Ptit, a real plot, had not ran for 6 months.

    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. Bleu Berry 20s (34/1 on the Tote) Supasundae 16s (25s on tote), Whisper 14s, Medinas 33s (40s on tote, huge but gettable he aftertimes smugly) Son of Flicka 66s on eve of race (owner said he won a million when interviewed on RUK). Xenophon '03 only clear favourite to win and Pricewise 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 Actival.


    N Henderson's Whisper wounded another stat joining his Spirit River to be only winners of this to be previous Cheltenham course winners (26 others have ran in the last five, only William Henry, The Taq and Long House Hall placed).


    Last front runner to win was Olympian '93. 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 2 wins, 3 second, 2 thirds and three fourths. He does tend to run a few, though. ( 2 last year 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 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 last three with three different trainers. 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 24 renewals from under 20% of runners. Tend to punch well above their numbers. 6 of the last 8 Irish trained winners (and the four of their last five placed horses) not seen out since 4th Feb. Both 1st and 3rd here last run was at the Dublin Racing Festival.


    BLINKERS CHEEKPIECES ETC- Only winner from 87 triers over the last fifteen, Sky's The Limit in a first time visor (had been blinkered in France). 8 ran last year, best William Henry 4th in first time cheekpieces. 6 in 2017, best Monksland in 3rd. 6 tried in 2016 including Long House Hall who always wears a hood. 10 tried in 2015 including two in first time headgear. Best finisher was 8th. 2014, Whisper's year, 2nd and 3rd home wore cheekpieces. They always wore them.


    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 two 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.

    Whisper and Spirit River '10 have changed N Henderson's luck with William Henry 4th also. Before 2010, 0 from 23 with only 3 placed. 3 runners in 2013, best Ericht in 5th. Hargam down the field 2017. Threw 5 at this in 2016 best finisher was 14th. Six runners 2015, best Volnay de Thaix in 5th.

    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. A King has had one winner and 4 placed from 20 runners ,three unplaced in 2018.


    JOCKEYS Three conditional jockeys have won this in its 24 year history. Nico de Boinvile on Whisper first since Sam Jones on Burntoakboy. 4 last year, James Bowen (3) on William Henry, 3 in 2017, best Donagh Meyler in 4th. 3 tried in 2016, all unplaced. 2015 Peter Carberry (3) best in 5th. Davy Russell has won this three times in the past ten, twice for Gordon Elliott. Ruby has yet to win this. W Mullins broke his duck last year.


    Any bookie who doesn't pay 5 places in this, is stealing from you.




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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.  I tend to improve as a tipster as the week goes on, possibly too worried on the Tuesday.  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. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

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