Coral Cup Tips: Anchor to Drop his rivals at Cheltenham

A hugely competitive field will do battle in the Coral Cup.
A hugely competitive field will do battle in the Coral Cup.

A huge field will line up for the Coral Cup on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, and our man Steve Chambers previews the 2m 5f contest here, and picks out his best bet for what is a thrilling renewal...

Seven of the 26 runners will be saddled by Gordon Elliott, and the Cullentra House handler appears to have some live chances with the spearhead of the septet being Saint Felicien, who currently heads the betting at 8/1. The lightly-raced five-year-old has only had three career starts, with two for Elliott, but he has shaped like he could be very smart, and he was last seen finishing second to Darasso in a Grade 3 event at Naas in January. With more improvement sure to come, the youngster looks attractively handicapped off a mark of 149, and has to be a major player.

Other notable Elliott runners include the top-weighted The Bosses Oscar, who maybe 33/1 for this event, but he showed he can deliver at the festival having finished second in the Pertemps Final last year, and he is a lively each-way play, while the 14/1 shot Indigo Breeze has been gradually improving of late - notching up a win and a second - and he could be one with future improvement to come and has to be respected.

Owner JP McManus will have four contenders carrying the green and gold silks for him here, and one that has winning form at the Cheltenham Festival is The Shunter, who won the Plate over fences this season, and will take his chance over hurdles this time around, and the multi-skilled raider has to be respected at 10/1.

Camprond is another prominent figure in the betting, and he was last seen finishing a fine fourth behind West Cork in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham over two miles, but the step up in trip could hinder his chances. The one from the McManus clan that is worth a major look at is DROP THE ANCHOR, who was last seen finishing an excellent fifth at Leopardstown, and he can build on that effort here. Pat Fahy's charge is a 17/2 chance for this event, at the time of writing, and he is another that has performed with credit at the festival, as he was a close seventh in last season's County Hurdle. That run came off a mark of 146, and he lines up off 143 on Wednesday, so providing he can cope with the step up in trip for this event, which is a slight worry, he could well be attractively handicapped to land a notable blow.

Dan Skelton has a superb way of landing notable handicap contests at Cheltenham and the British trainer saddles Unexpected Party here, and he was last seen winning the Holloway's Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, and at 10/1 is another major each-way player. With relatively few miles on the clock, the Skelton team would've saved him for this event and he has to be respected.

A dual Grade 2 winner last season, McFabulous is a really fascinating contender for Paul Nicholls, and if he is at his best then he has to play a huge part at 18/1, but he was disappointing when fourth in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, and it could be that the hustle and bustle of this event could test his abilities here.

Of the others, Gowel Road is a course and distance winner, who beat Unexpected Party earlier in the season, and he is another premier British-trained challenger at 14/1, while the likes of the Willie Mullins-trained Ganapathi and the hugely consistent Evan Williams-trained Dans Le Vent add more depth to a field awash with exciting handicap performers.

Coral Cup
Drop The Anchor silk

Drop The Anchor

Cheltenham Tips
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