The Coral Cup

The Coral Cup is a race that is part of the Cheltenham Festival that takes place annually in the third month of the year. It is a Grade 3 National Hunt Hurdle race run by horses aged four years and above. The prestigious handicap race covers a distance of 4225 metres, and the competing horses jump over ten hurdles.

Early Days

The race was launched in 1993 and gained its Grade 3 status in 1999. Over the years, the competition has had only one sponsor by the name Coral hence being named after the sponsors. Olympian was the initial winner, and he bagged a prize of €50,000 because he had won the Imperial Cup the preceding weekend under the guide of jockey Peter Scudamore.

Surprisingly, no horse has won a title twice at The Coral Cup. There are two leading jockeys with three wins each namely Davy Russel who won it with three different horses in 2008, 2011 and 2016 and Barry Geraghty who won the competition in 2006, 2010 and 2020. Winning the left-handed race attracts a purse of €100,000.

Occurences

The race has had its ups and downs since it began. In 2008, the race was rescheduled due to high winds on the race day. It was later held at the Cheltenham’s New Course. This also resulted in a change in the distance covered that year to 2 miles and four and a half furlongs. Another crisis that deterred the occurrence of the race is the foot and mouth outbreak that was there in 2001.

Horses taking part in this England based event all have trainers, and Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer with four wins. He has been involved with four winning horses; Spirit River in 2010, Whisper in 2014, William Henry in 2019 and in the latest edition of 2020, he did the same with Dame De Compagnie.