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2020 Coral Cup: All you need to know

Drew Goodsell | 11 March 2020

Odds, tips and preview for the Coral Cup

After a thrilling first day of action from the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, it’s time for Day Two of the festival where Ladies Day takes centre stage.

After International Women’s Day on Sunday, jockey Rachael Blackmore continued the increased trend of female winners at the Festival, notching her third winner in the Mares’ Hurdle. She’ll be on board Eglantine Du Seuil as she looks for yet another winner.

View the latest Cheltenham Festival odds.

Ahead of Day Two’s action at Prestbury Park, in a day which also features Tiger Roll’s historic shot at a third Cross-Country Chase victory in a row, we look at our feature race, the Coral Cup Hurdle…

History of the Coral Cup

The Coral Cup has been a fixture of the Cheltenham Festival since it was first introduced to the 1993 Festival. The Coral brand has always sponsored the race throughout its history, only missing the 2001 Festival which was postponed due to the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The race is run over the 2m 5f course and was first won by Olympian in 1993, where a bonus of £50,000 was picked up after winning the Imperial Cup at Sandown Park the previous weekend. The prize money for the Coral Cup currently stands at £100,000.

It’s one of the season’s most competitive handicaps, with no horse winning the race more than once. Davy Russell is the most successful jockey with three wins in 2008, 2011 and 2016. Martin Pipe has the most wins as a trainer with three coming in 1993, 1997 and 2002.

Last year’s race was a battle of the outsiders, eventually won by William Henry, who beat Wicklow Brave by a short head across the 2m 5f course, with pre-race favourite Uradel coming home in seventh.

Supasundae and Whisper claimed wins in the Coral Cup in 2017 and 2014 respectively, who have since gone on to be highly competitive in Grade 1 races across the board.

The 2013 Coral Cup saw a huge winner, as 33/1 shot Medinas, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, went on to claim victory by 2l from Meister Eckhart in a race which saw the favourites fall away late on.

Who are the favourites for the 2020 Coral Cup?

Heading into the race, Dame De Compagnie leads the betting as a 9/2 favourite. The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old mare has shown plenty of promise since her return to the track after a staggering 577 day lay-off through injury.

Up 8lb in weight since her last race, she has a lot more to come after being raced lightly recently. She won her last outing by over 4l in the Park Mares’ Handicap Hurdle in December, running strongly throughout. She finished fifth in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, her first race back from injury, despite showing signs of returning to strong form.

Dame De Compagnie

The main threat looks to come from Canardier heading into the Coral Cup. He hasn’t quite been on the mark in his last few races over fences this season, but a change of trainer to Willie Mullins has attracted plenty of interest shown in the eight-year-old in the lead up to this one. He’s now placed as the 15/2 second favourite.

Franco De Port could challenge and sits as third favourite at 10/1.The five-year-old gelding showed promise in his first two outings over hurdles before winning by just shy of 6l in November after a 259 day lay-off.

A seventh-placed finish at Limerick is his worst result but he followed that up with an excellent second at Naas in January, losing by 6l to Stormy Ireland in the Grade 3 hurdle.

Further progress is expected from him, and if shown here, he could be the main threat to the favourite.

How to watch the 2020 Coral Cup

The Coral Cup is scheduled to be the third race at this year’s Ladies Day and will get underway on the Cheltenham racecourse at 14:50.

The race will be shown live as part of the ITV Racing schedule on ITV, where the show starts at 13:00. The Coral Cup will also be shown on Racing TV.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication.