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Cheltenham Festival Coral Cup tips (1515): Ballyadam ticks all the right boxes in betting minefield

With three of the last five winners priced above 25/1, the Coral Cup can be a betting minefield, so hopefully the trends analysis of racing expert Andrew of Fiosrach can guide us towards the winner.

(Due to the abandonment of the Cross-Country Chase, this race time has been moved from 14:50 to 15:15)

15:15 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2 miles)

In Tuesday's Ultima Handicap Chase, the trends analysis came up trumps, with my four selections, Twig, Weveallbeencaught, Famous Bridge and the victor Chianti Classico all landing a spot in the top six.

The Coral Handicap Hurdle is a challenging race with 25 scheduled runners due to go to post, and it is always a competitive cavalry charge over the minimum two-mile trip. 

As usual I have used the trends below to reduce the field to a more manageable number for further analysis. Some general guidelines are to respect JP McManus-owned runners, trainers Nicky Henderson & Gordon Elliott (7 wins in last 14 years) and Irish-trained runners (7/15).

Planet Sport Bet: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if the favourite (inc joint) wins, get a £5 Free Bet!

Positive trends

  • 21 of the last 29 winners won earlier that season
  • 15/24 winners aged 6 or 7
  • 12/19 were second-season hurdlers
  • 18/23 raced less than 10 times over hurdles
  • 11/14 had run at the Festival before (9 top-4 finishes)
  • 10/14 hailed from the top 8 horses in the weights
  • 10/15 were rated in the 140’s
  • 10/14 winners did NOT win last time out
  • 13/18 came from the top seven in the betting
  • 10 of the last 22 winners were French-bred
  • 15/30 won last time out
  • 13/15 had raced fewer than 5 times that season
  • 16/19 winners had run 32 days or longer ago (look for horses that have had a small break)
  • 3/13 trained by Gordon Elliott
  • 3/10 trained by Nicky Henderson (4 in total)
  • 5 year-olds do well from the small % that have run (win and place)
  • 4 of the last 5 winners wore headgear.

Negative trends

  • Just one winning favourite in the last 20 years (2020)
  • Only 5 winners since 2000 had run in 10+ hurdles races
  • Horses aged 10+ are just 3 from 309 to even place since 1999
  • Just 5 winners since 2000 aged 8+
  • Horses rated 150+ do not have an overall great record, although the 2019 winner was rated 151 and 2020 winner was 152
  • Willie Mullins won the race in 2018 and had the second in 2019, but overall has a bad record – 50 runners – just two placed inside the top 2 (1 from 47 since 2010
  • 1 winning favourites in the last 10 runnings (10%)

Ballyadam drops from Graded company and that is the type of horse Henry De Bromhead does very well with in Cheltenham handicaps. 

The nine-year-old has won at Graded level and finished third in his last two runs (both at Graded level), and it’s worth noting that horses in the top eight of the handicap have a good record in this race.

Suggested bet: Ballyadam each-way in the 14:50 at Cheltenham


First Street comes from the Nicky Henderson stable, and he has a strong record at Prestbury Park, peaking two years ago when he finished second in the County Hurdle to State Man (now odds-on favourite for the Champion Hurdle).

The seven-year-old has just had a wind operation and if he reproduces his 2022 form then he could be contention here.

Brazil won the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle here in 2022 and has won at Graded level, but his recent form has been poor and he was well beaten in his last two starts. 

Padraig Roche’s six-year-old steps up in trip here and maybe that will rekindle his appetite for winning, but he is the last one I ruled out due to his last two runs.

Armed with that information, I am advising an each-way bet on both Ballyadam and Maxxum, and as always don’t forget to look for extra places from your bookmaker.

READ MORE: Cheltenham Festival ITV racing tips: Best bets for Day Two on Wednesday March 13

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