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|HMS Seahorse||10/110/1||EW (6 Places)
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Beacon Edge||12/112/1||EW (7 Places)
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Benson||14/114/1||EW (7 Places)
|Place BetPlace Bet|
Date of Tips: 14/03/2023
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|Will Smith Tips||Steve Mullington
A predictably unfathomable renewal of this famous race, with no fewer than 13 horses priced between a general 8/1 and 20/1 at first glance this morning – but on the flip side of that difficulty level is the value to be had in terms of price and place terms. You’ve got to have a crack haven’t you?
Progressive and/or cannily campaigned Irish handicappers feature as the top 4 in the betting, Captain Conby, Run For Oscar, An Epic Song and HMS Seahorse.
But the first horse to focus on, it is perhaps a horse who has come here somewhat by chance, given he was chasing at the start of the season – but that should not downplay the chance of Beacon Edge, who is a Grade 1 novice chase winner, a Grade 2 hurdle winner, and most notably a close 4th in the Stayers Hurdle 2 seasons ago.
The blinkers the last twice have given Beacon Edge a nice perk up, and in particular, last time he showed plenty behind Blazing Khal. At 12/1 each-way with Bet365 for 7 places, he could be potentially a 4th (Good Land anyone…) Cheltenham Festival winner for the young iceman that is Mikey O’Sullivan.
The other pick is a horse that has looked completely rejuvenated by Sandy Thomson this season, and that is Benson, who won the Morebattle Hurdle in pretty extraordinary fashion 11 days ago. That was clearly the plan, but for a handler who is brilliant at keeping horses sweet, this particular test might actually suit Benson more than the bare 2m at Kelso.
At 14/1 each-way, again with Bet365 for 7 places, Benson is one of a couple of more northerly-based horses who could represent the region well – Nells Son is perhaps a big price at 40/1 also.
Fourth in last year’s Fred Winter here, Paul Nolan’s HMS Seahorse has gone from strength- to-strength in the intervening months and arrives at Cheltenham this year with an outstanding chance.
After being gelded on the 12th Jan, HMS Seahorse went to Naas nine days later and scooted home in the Navan Handicap Hurdle, giving his absolute full concentration to the job in hand. I personally cannot see him being out of the frame in this Coral Cup and I would advise hunting around bookmakers who are paying the extra places for your each-way flutter at odds of around 10/1.
One horse I am totally shocked to see quoted at 50/1 for in this handicap is Sporting John. I know he was down the field in the Grimthorpe Chase but a switch back to hurdles could well see him reinvigorated and I would be looking for those extra places once more.
HMS Seahorse (NB) – EW @ 10/1 with William Hill
|The Coral Cup|
|Wed 15/03/2023||14:50||2m 5f||Hurdle|
The Coral Cup is a Grade 3 handicap hurdle race that has been a fixture of the Cheltenham Festival since 1993. It is run on the Old Course over a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs, and is open to horses aged four and older. The race is known for its competitive nature and often attracts large fields, making it a challenging test for both horses and jockeys.
The Coral Cup has produced some surprise winners in the past, with long-shot horses occasionally coming out on top. The race features a total of 10 hurdles to be jumped and horses often need to be both quick and agile to handle the tight turns and undulations of the course.
The Coral Cup has been won by some impressive horses over the years, including Spirit River, Whisper, and Supasundae.
For fans of handicap racing, the Coral Cup is a must-see event at the Cheltenham Festival. With a field of up to 28 horses, the race is often unpredictable and offers plenty of excitement and drama.
|Run For Oscar||8/1|
|Haut En Couleurs||10/1|
|Good Risk At All||18/1|
|An Epic Song||20/1|
|Watch House Cross||25/1|
|No Ordinary Joe||25/1|
|Tax For Max||25/1|
|The Very Man||25/1|
|Call Me Lord||33/1|
|Pull Again Green||33/1|
|Off Your Rocco||50/1|
|Coral Cup Tips|
|Both Will Smith and Andrew Blair White have provided tips for the 2022 Coral Cup at Cheltenham.
Click below to view their selections.
|Will Smith's Coral Cup Tips||Andrew Blair White's Coral Cup Tips|
I wish I could bottle up a day like today and play it on repeat. The sheer amount of excitement, tension and most importantly, frantic researching that goes into handicap weights day for Cheltenham is a sight to behold. However, sometimes one doesn’t have much time to react – so I am trying to get in the van early on and drive a few handicap selections over the line before some people take too much notice.
I have played a couple at the Boodles Handicap Hurdle thus far, but that’s the only handicap I have delved into thus far, so you can expect some more on that front in the coming days. And I have decided to take my chance at the most difficult of the lot this afternoon, and try to dissect the Coral Cup – where I will be siding with two horses in this race, who look to have the right profile and potentially the right type of weight for the race.
Quite strangely, the horse I prefer for the race of the two is the bigger priced of the lot – so I will be siding with his first. I have forever been wondering what race they will end up running last year’s festival winner, The Shunter in. As much as one still couldn’t be sure right now of his destination, the fact he is rated seven pounds lower over hurdles than fences may prove to be too much of an incentive for his connections to turn down.
The Shunter won at the Festival last year off a mark of 140, and although he has handicap entries in the Ultima and the Plate, he is rated as high as 155 this time around – which seems like it would be a step too far for a horse who has also had a few jumping troubles in recent starts. Despite not being seen over hurdles since Punchestown last year, he is off a mark of 148 in this sphere and if judging by the Punchestown run and his wins in both the Morebattle Hurdle and Greatwood Hurdle last year, there should still be some room for manoeuver off this mark.
He is as big as 16/1 Non-Runner No Bet with a lot of firms, and I would be using that given he still does have multiple entries, but I will be using Paddy Power’s terms on this occasion, and will be backing each way with 5 places available ante-post.
This is a race that the British have a decent record in though and it would surprise me if we didn’t see one or two of their challengers run well in this contest. There is a lot of talk around recent Ascot scorer, No Risk at All – who won so impressively off a gift of an opening mark. However, I do have a problem with horses running that weekend at Ascot given the ground they had to face in the proximity to the festival.
Instead, it might be worth siding with another Ascot scorer in Unexpected Party – who has been improving all year round and although having to encounter another big rise in the weights, he should be weighted to run well off 142. He also has an ideal running style for this race, as typically it can go to a hold up horse and this may well suit something coming from well off the pace like this horse tends to be ridden.
This does seem to be this horse’s prime target for the Festival and although they have yet to win this race, the Skelton’s have prior form in festival handicap hurdles – so I would be very happy with the source. Unexpected Party looks like a progressive horse coming into this race and we are yet to see where the limitations lie.
At a price of 10/1 with SkyBet – who are also Non-Runner No Bet for this race, he should be backed each way with 5 places available again.
My esteemed WhichBookie colleague Andrew Blair White has already outlined on this page the claims of two nicely priced and obvious chances in the Coral Cup at 2.50 on the Wednesday of the Cheltenham Festival.
So, for those who follow all of our selections, I apologise that in recommending another bet in the Coral Cup, you will now have three stabs at the race, even before the five-day confirmations stage!
But I have to plough my own furrow as it were, and have been waiting on yesterday’s revealing of the Cheltenham Festival handicap weights, before taking the plunge with any handicap bets that are still overpriced and would hold leading claims on the day.
The horse in question holds only one entry, has solid Festival form on account of an eye-catching running-on 5th in last season’s County Hurdle, and comes here off the back of an even more notable run in the valuable 2m handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
For those that like that sort of thing, he is also 3lbs lower than when running in last year’s County Hurdle – it wouldn’t be the difference between winning and losing, as there are far more important factors in any horse race, let alone a massive field Cheltenham Festival handicap, but it surely can’t hurt!
Drop The Anchor has been recommended in a few prominent places over the last day or so, and I was ready to shelve the WhichBookie recommendation on account of being too skinny at 10/1 or shorter. But you can still get 14/1 each-way with Ladbrokes or Coral, who offer both 5 places now and also the all-important ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’ concession.
Given owner JP Mcmanus’ love of Cheltenham Festival winners, and that Pat Fahy’s Drop The Anchor has just the Coral Cup entry – when he could conceivably been in the County Hurdle again or the Martin Pipe – suggests it has been in connections minds all along.
14/1 is probably skinny enough for an ante-post pick in a Cheltenham Festival handicap, but when you get the feeling that Drop The Anchor could be much shorter on the day, then with the 5 places and NRNB also boosting the appeal, I think there is still enough upside to backing him now.
Drop The Anchor came from another parish to finish 5th in the aforementioned Dublin Racing Festival handicap, and given the other five of the top six that day were in the van from at least a mid-race stage, Drop The Anchor has, to put it mildly, run a blinder.
With the prospect of stepping up to 2m5f at Cheltenham bringing about any amount of improvement, and a liking for the hurly-burly of a big field handicap firmly in his locker, Drop The Anchor must have an outstanding chance in the first handicap on day two.
The other one that floated my ante-post boat was Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Gowel Road, who comfortably beat leading fancy Unexpected Party at Cheltenham in November, and has been slightly inconvenienced since by racing over 2m.
Kept fresh after bravely chasing home Metier at Lingfield Park’s Winter Million, Gowel Road also holds an entry in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle, as his handicap mark of 145 would slot him in nicely at the top of that race.
I’ll be backing him for either race when it becomes clear which he is going for, and for those that like that sort of thing, backing Gowel Road NRNB for both now wouldn’t be a crazy idea.
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>When I </span><a href=”https://www.whichbookie.co.uk/cheltenham-festival/tips/cheltenham-festival-2021-ante-post-round-up/”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>summarised all the ante-post action for the Cheltenham Festival that we had put together over the last 12 months</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, it became clear that day two was a relatively quiet day. So, in attempt to rectify that, I have had a good delve into Wednesday’s races, and it quickly became clear to me why it was such a sparse day betting-wise.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>However, there was one avenue open to me, and that was the </span><b><i>Coral Cup</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, run at </span><b><i>2.30pm over 2m5f of the Old Course</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> – the first of two handicaps on day two, alongside the </span><a href=”https://www.whichbookie.co.uk/cheltenham-festival/tips/grand-annual-chase/”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Grand Annual, for which I suggested this 15/2 each-way bet a few days ago</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The top of the market for the </span><b><i>Coral Cup</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> is currently a duel between Grand Roi and Koshari. Of the two, I would much prefer the claims of Grand Roi, as he has good Cheltenham experience, and has looked to have taken his form to a new level since joining Gordon Elliott. But at a 7/1 best price, he isn’t much value anymore, in what is one of the hottest races each year.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>While, Koshari undoubtedly has a fair level of ability, but is fragile and has a few jumping issues, which could be starkly highlighted in a race such as the </span><b><i>Coral Cup.</i></b>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>I prefer two tough and classy individuals, who are available at huge prices. The first is </span><b><i>Botox Has, who at 20/1 with Sky Bet, is a cracking each-way bet</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> to prove the notion that this step up in trip is something he has been crying out for. Sky Bet are also 5 places for each-way bets, and also ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’, both of which are handy concessions.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Three runs at Cheltenham have resulted in two wins and a second to Allmankind over hurdles, and it was his most recent start at HQ that marked him down as a horse that would relish a step up in trip – he turned around form with Allmankind back in October, and fairly powered away from the last hurdle and up the hill that day.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>A run in a competitive handicap at Ascot over just shy of 2m4f in January looked like a bit of a sighter, and having been held up on a track that suits prominent racers, a mid-race switch to the unfavoured inside also suggested that it very much wasn’t the day for </span><b><i>Botox Has</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. A couple of pounds off his handicap mark, back to his favoured course, and available at </span><b><i>20/1 with Sky Bet</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, he looks to have been targeted at the </span><b><i>Coral Cup</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> from a long way off.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The other bet comes in the shape of the top-weight and very classy </span><b><i>Thomas Darby, who at 25/1 with <a href=”https://www.whichbookie.co.uk/bet/williamhill/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>William Hill</a> is definitely worth backing each-way now.</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> William Hill are also offering 5 places, but aren’t NRNB, but news reports suggest </span><b><i>Thomas Darby</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> is going to run here. You should never be put off backing top weights in handicaps, and William Henry and Medinas have defied that burden in recent years in the Coral Cup.</span>
<b><i>Thomas Darby</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> has been lightly raced but was second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2019, and has a win to his name at the track in a maiden hurdle the season before. But it his recent runs that have suggested he could be well suited to the rigours of a </span><b><i>Coral Cup</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, having hit the front in the re-arranged Relkeel Hurdle a little too soon maybe, before running on again close home behind McFabulous.</span>
<b><i>Thomas Darby</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> always goes well fresh, and on his last handicap start, he came a long way clear with Song For Someone at Ascot. Song For Someone has since won three Grade 2 events in succession before running below par behind Goshen at Wincanton.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>At </span><b><i>25/1, Thomas Darby</i></b><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> is a wild price about such a classy horse, and could potentially give Olly Murphy his long-awaited first Cheltenham Festival victory.</span>