Coral Cup Tips: Two picks for Wednesday’s competitive handicap

 | March 12 | 

8 mins read

Coral Cup tips

Amongst the most fiercely competitive of the Cheltenham Festival handicaps is the Coral Cup and the two-mile, five-furlong contest is not likely to disappoint this time around, with a field of 25 in the mix.

This is a Super Extra Place Race, so we are paying 6 places instead of 4 at 1/5 the odds for all each-way bets.

Coral Cup Tips - Wednesday, March 13

Runners

Ballyadam (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore) 14/1

Good Festival record, showing as runner-up in the Supreme in 2021 and successive fifth-place finishes in the County Hurdle since. 1lb lower than last year and a Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle third behind Irish Point was a very good effort over further.

Maxxum (Gordon Elliott/Jake Coen) 40/1

Didn't get much luck in running when fancied for the Pertemps Final here last season and finished mid pack. Runs off the same mark now and the pick of his form since gives him a chance, albeit might want further.

Da Capo Glory (Padraig Butler/Darragh Allen) 28/1

More than useful in Irish handicaps over timber and has three wins in 10 starts in this sphere, he ran up to his best in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle last month, finishing third, but the handicapper has done him no favours. Claiming rider helps, while first-time cheekpieces are added.

Beacon Edge (Gordon Elliott/Danny Gilligan) 40/1

Second best in that Boyne Hurdle last month at Navan over this sort of trip, but he's more exposed than plenty of these and was beaten nearly 20-lengths in this race last year from just 2lb higher in the ratings.

First Street (Nicky Henderson/Paul O'Brien) 16/1

Has twice run well in the County Hurdle here, including second to the mighty State Man in 2022 off 142. Has faced some really tough tests in three hurdles outings this season and undergone a wind op since Trials Day third behind Lossiemouth here. On a fair mark if the stable form clicks.

Might I (Harry Fry/Johnny Burke) 14/1

Claim to fame remains going off as favourite on Constitution Hill's debut at Sandown in December 2021. A good fourth in the Martin Pipe here last March and rated 3lb lower now, though has been chasing this season, so needs to acclimatise fast.

Brazil (Padraig Roche/Aidan Kelly) 14/1

Beat Gaelic Warrior to win the Boodles here in 2022 and has swayed between the Flat and hurdles since. Well beaten last month at Leopardstown (2m, soft) from 2lb lower and needs this new trip to revitalise him.

Finest Evermore (Paul Hennessy/Brian Hayes) 40/1

Yeats mare won 3-6 for Willie Mullins in the 2020/21 season at 2m4f-2m6½f, but she pitches up here for new connections after 571 days out and with the handicapper refusing to cut her any undue slack.

Mark Of Gold (Gary Moore/Jonjo O'Neill Jr) 28/1

Golden Horn gelding has seven hurdles wins on his CV and got back on track last month at Kempton (2m5f, soft) when readily landing a Class 3 contest. He's 5lb higher now in a tougher contest, but ran a decent race at this meeting last March when seventh in the Martin Pipe.

Langer Dan (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton) 7/1

Has often been touted for targets at this Festival and his luck turned last year when he won this race with a late surge. Runs off the same mark now and poor form earlier in the season was attributed to ulcers. Needs to get back to his best.

Jigoro (Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy) 14/1

Lightly-raced Navan maiden hurdle winner has been placed in two runs since behind Mystical Power and Tullyhill - both of whom were due to contest the Supreme here on Tuesday. One of four for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy's pick.

Sa Majeste (Willie Mullins/Mark Walsh) 5/1

French import, beat Noble Yeats in good enough style at Limerick (2m4f, heavy) over Christmas off levels on second start for this handler. There could be plenty more to come from him.

Western Fold (Gordon Elliott/Sam Ewing) 22/1

Lightly-raced and progressive with wins at Gowran Park and Down Royal from five starts over timber. A mark of 140 appears on the high side for this handicap bow and the stable jockey jumps off.

Built By Ballymore (Martin Brassil/JJ Slevin) 15/2

Seemingly needed the run at Naas in November, but a step up in trip since has yielded 12-length wins in maiden/novice company at Limerick (2m5f, heavy) and Punchestown (2m4f, heavy) and freshened up for his handicap bow in first-time cheekpieces. An interesting contender.

Benson (Sandy Thomson/Ryan Mania) 80/1

Notched the sixth hurdles win of his career at Musselburgh on New Year's Day over 2m4f, but stopped alarmingly in the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso 11 days ago and it will be a real shock should he be the answer to this riddle.

Franciscan Rock (Mouse Morris/Ricky Doyle) 66/1

Thurles maiden hurdle winner 13 months ago over 2m7½f and outran his odds when third behind Gaelic Warrior in a Grade 1 Punchestown novice last spring over 3m. Initially sent chasing this term and well held over hurdles at Christmas. Not an obvious chance.

Lucky Place (Nicky Henderson/James Bowen) 11/1

Has made smooth progress in four hurdles starts, winning a 2m3½f Doncaster novice in December in fine style and second both starts since, including here in January in a 2m4½f Grade 2 when giving the promising/unbeaten Gidleigh Park a scare. Opening mark looks fair on that evidence for the second of three Henderson runners.

Guard Your Dreams (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies) 22/1

Fifth in this race in 2021 and has two course wins from four since, including 2m4f handicap and 2m1f Grade 2 International Hurdle, both also in 2021. Missed 660 days before last of five behind Lossiemouth here in January and since beaten 17-lengths in the Grade 2 Kingwell at Wincanton. Back up in trip/down in grade and a mark of 137 very fair if he can step forward.

Shanbally Kid (Willie Mullins/Michael O'Sullivan) 20/1

Navan maiden winner last season at 2m4f and then pitched into the Albert Bartlett here, finishing eighth. Only two starts since and ran a sound race in a Listed Leopardstown handicap last month over further. This mark looks about right.

Lombron (Willie Mullins/Danny Mullins) 28/1

French import won his maiden at Thurles (2m, yielding) in November at the first time of asking and has faced tough tasks since in Graded/Listed novice hurdles won by Supreme contenders Mystical Power and Tullyhill. Handicap debut now and one to monitor.

Doddiethegreat (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) 7/1

Progressive Seven Barrows inmate won his first four (two bumpers/two hurdles) and was a pleasing second over 2m1f (soft) in a December handicap here. Eye-catcher since when closing up to be fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and could be a major player back up in trip from the same mark. Easy Kempton novice winner on sole try at this trip.

Rambo T (Olly Murphy/Gavin Sheehan) 40/1

Mildly progressive over hurdles, with three wins during 2023, but a mark of 132 in a Class 2 Ascot contest found him out last month and on that evidence this could be a struggle.

Black Bamboo (John Murphy/Sean Flanagan) 25/1

Didn't have to improve to win a Cork maiden hurdle (2m4½f, yielding to soft) in October, but has run good races twice since at Leopardstown over 2m-3m½f. Handicapper has done him no favours but this intermediate trip could be optimal.

Zanndabad (Tony Martin/Daniel King) 18/1

Is 0-5 over hurdles, but his best effort yet came when second in the Scottish County Hurdle last month over shorter at Musselburgh. That was a good effort in the circumstances and not one to dismiss for a shrewd trainer.

Verdict

Lucky Place @ 11/1  & Lombron @ 28/1 

Last year's winner Langer Dan is back on the same mark if he can put his struggles since behind him, while lightly-raced duo Sa Majeste and Doddiethegreat are likely contenders for Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson.

The latter was doing all his best work at the finish at Newbury last time and should appreciate this trip. The Festival's most successful trainers of all-time have more than one bullet to fire here, however.

LUCKY PLACE has progressed with each run over timber and has figures of 2122 in this sphere. He ran here in January over 2m4½f and gave unbeaten Gidleigh Park a mighty scare, the pair clear.

Lucky Place to win 14.50 Cheltenham at 11-1

Harry Fry's charge is a key Grade 1 contender here on Friday and, while Henderson has three contenders in this, it was always most likely James Bowen would be on board this one. They could have plenty to say as the trainer goes for a record-extending fifth win in this contest.

Mullins has a trio in here and LOMBRON is one who can improve off an opening mark of 133 under Danny Mullins.

His French form suggests this longer trip will be ideal and, after a winning Irish bow in November, he faced two arduous tasks since behind stablemates from the top drawer. He could now get back on track.

Lombron to win 14.50 Cheltenham at 28-1

cheltenham super extra 6 instead of 4

Find more Cheltenham Tips here at Betfred Insights

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