• Racing/
  • Whisper Wins Coral Cup

Coral Cup (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle) 2m 5f

  • (4yo+, 2m 5f, Class 1, 28 runners)
  • Winner £45,560 2nd £17,096 3rd £8,560 4th £4,264 5th £2,144 6th £1,072
  • Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 58.80s
  • Off time: 14:40:19
  • Last Updated: March 12 2014, 15:16 GMT

Whisper, trained by Nicky Henderson, defied a big weight to claim the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

Whisper held off Get Me Out Of Here in a brilliant finish
Whisper held off Get Me Out Of Here in a brilliant finish

Ridden by 5lb claiming rider Nico de Boinville, the six-year-old was backed at big prices before the off and returned a 14/1 chance to narrowly beat Get Me Out Of Here in a thrilling finish to the valuable handicap.

Bayan justified strong each-way support to finish third, while Smashing took fourth.

Whisper was never too far off the pace set by Son Of Flicka and was in a perfect position when the tempo increased markedly on the run to the third-last flight.

  • Horses work on a misty morning at Prestbury Park.
  • The cold start saw some of the Cheltenham employees out in first-time headgear...
  • Ruby Walsh looks pensive ahead of day two of the meeting.
  • The ladies arrive in their finery on Ladies Day...
  • and it looks as if spectacular hats are the order of the day...
  • as warm smiles melted the morning mists.
  • A racegoer left a floral tribute to Arkle.
  • Punters planned their bets in the big handicaps with military precision...
  • John Motson was among the racegoers at Prestbury Park on Wednesday...
  • Creepy sets a fast pace under Ian Popham in the Neptune...
  • but it's another winner for Ireland as Faugheen clears the last in fine style...
  • ....and the sun shines on favourite backers at Cheltenham.
  • Ruby Walsh salutes the crowd on the way back to the enclosures.
  • Life's good for Faugheen's owner Rich Ricci...
  • The runners are under orders for the RSA Chase
  • and as they come to the last O'Faolain's Boy has to fend off the attentions of Smad Place...
  • and a delighted Barry Geraghty claims his third RSA.
  • The Princess Royal and Zara Tindall watch their picks with interest
  • They begin the run for home in a gruelling renewal of the Coral Cup...
  • and Whisper is kicked clear with Get Me Out Of Here in pursuit...
  • Winning rider, Nico de Boinville punches the air in delight.
  • SIre De Grugy stays on stoutly up the hill to claim the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
  • The new and old guard with Sire De Grugy leaves Sizing Europe in his wake.
  • The new champion is patted by a delighted Jamie Moore...
  • Connections celebrate with their pride and joy.
  • Jamie and Gary Moore collect the Queen Mother trophy.
  • Sire De Grugy gives a grin as Jamie Moore looks on...
  • Balthazar King (red with blue stars) makes ground in the Cross Country Chase...
  • ...and it's many happy returns for the former winner under Richard Johnson.
  • Richard Johnson acknowledges the crowd after his victory.
  • Hawk High gets the better of the luckless Katgary in the Fred Winter...
  • and Brian Hughes  has the sweet taste of victory after a near-miss on Tuesday.
  • A downcast Tony McCoy returns after taking a fall from Goodwood Mirage.
  • It was a mixed day for some punters at Cheltenham...
  • Silver Concorde was a big priced winner of the bumper under Robbie McNamara...
  • but with the first six home all trained in Ireland - the tricolour was in evidence.
All the best images from Champion Chase day at Cheltenham.

Tony McCoy gave Festival regular Get Me Out Of Here, who has now finished second four times at the big meeting, a very confident ride and scythed through the pack to close up on Whisper coming to the last.

But the winner dug deep for De Boinville on the steep run to the line and held a short-head advantage as they flashed past the post together.

De Boinville, who was riding his first Festival winner, said: "You can never be too sure (in photo-finishes) but I'm over the moon.

"I got a lovely position and he kept going all the way."

Henderson felt De Boinville's 5lb claim proved crucial, saying: "When you've got a very good claimer, then it's obvious to try and use him.

"We stopped him (De Boinville) riding for a week because I needed his 5lb claim this week.

"It looked like Whisper had too much weight. I didn't think he could win off top weight, but he has.

"He deserves it, because he was beaten a nose in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

"That was really annoying as he also went up 6lb for finishing second.

"If he'd been beaten a nose here then I would have really cried."

Winning owner Dai Walters said: "That's my first Festival winner and I'm lost for words - I'm over the moon."

Jonjo O'Neill was again left to reflect on what could have been after Get Me Out Of Here just failed under McCoy.

He said: "That's the fourth time he's been second here, he's a smashing horse.

"We thought everything was right for him - the ground, the trip and the sun had come out.

"I don't think he ever really got there."

At The Races presenter Gary O'Brien, part-owner of the third-placed Bayan, said: "We're absolutely over the moon. Just for a few strides running to the last I thought he might get there but no complaints, he got a beautiful run through.

"He's been an unbelievable little horse."


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