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Coral Cup preview

These handicaps are far too hard for my liking, but some people love them. Here's Dan Kelly's take on the time-honoured Coral Cup.

Coral Cup - three against the field

This year's Coral Cup is one of the classiest renewals we've seen in years, and with six last time out winners in the field, many come into the race on the upgrade. That is the usual make up of winners as shown by Carlito Brigante and Spirit River in recent years, however here are my three against the field.

Form of F9090 wouldn't inspire many, if any, yet at the festival last year Son Of Flicka finished a good second to Sir Des Champs off 140. Running here 135 after a generous 7lb drop in the weights following a lacklustre perfomance in the Lanzarote, it takes a leap of faith to expect a return to form, but Donald McCain and Jason Maguire continue to pull out spectacular efforts from their runners with Cinders and Ashes, Our Mick and Overturn doing connections proud.

Again it's to the Lanzarote I goto for another hope, and even though Swincombe Flame didn't frank the form in the muddling mares race yesterday, Act Of Kalanisi deserves a closer look. His 3rd in the Lanzarote was the second time he was sent over a trip in handicap hurdles, his first was when winning the Betfair Mobile Handicap at Ascot of 10st. Brendan Powell takes off 5lbs for a trainer who won this with Burntoakboy in 2007.

Whereas last time out winners are housed in the yards of Hobbs, Pipes and the likes, John Ferguson has some artillery in his yard, and where Cotton Mill and New Years Eve are hogging the limelight today, his Cape Dutch sneaks in under the radar. He has course form following his run behind Edgoardo Sol over an inadequate 2m test, yet either side of this run he had winning form over 2m4f at Carlisle and Musselburgh. With form on quicker ground already in the book, this can only be seen as a plus on what is the quickest conditions in recent Festivals, throw in the typical improving make up, then Cape Dutch is the last time out winner that is of interest at 16s or bigger.

Follow Dan on Twitter, @muffinmannhc. There'll be more from Dan on the remaining days of the Festival.

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