Cheltenham: Alan King set for Coral Cup retention with Vendor

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When looking over the card for the Coral Cup there are two trends from previous runnings of Wednesday’s third race that are simply too glaring to ignore.

The first puts age under the microscope and leaves punters reeling away with a wince at the sight any wrinkles. Since 1997, only one horse aged nine or older has claimed victory in the 2m 5f handicap.

While that rules out four runners in the 28-strong field and feels like a slightly pointless exercise, it’ll force punters to look for an alternative to 11-yr-old favourite Dunguib.

The fact that only one outright and one joint-favourite has triumphed in the last 19 runnings of this race completely rules out the Philip Fenton trained horse, but also the chances of 5-yr-old Bayan who shares the market leader’s tag at 8/1.

In the last 16 renewals there’s only been three horses to win at shorter than 10/1, so it’s clear that this is a race to go long-shot hunting in, especially with Ladbrokes paying out on five places.

14/1 is the shortest price any horse has won the Coral Cup at in the last five years and with five and six year olds claiming four of the last five runnings, Alan King’s 6-yr-old Vendor, at 14/1, looks to have all the trends pointing his way.

King supplied the first two past the post in last year’s race with Medinas striding to a two-length win over Meister Eckhart, who is also 14/1 this year.

The Barbury Castle trainer has Vendor low enough in the weights, at 10-10, to figure again this time as only two winners since 1999 have carried more than 11-2.

Although an eighth in the hugely significant Betfair Hurdle reflects badly on him, Vendor actually fared better than that result suggests and his appearance at Newbury actually bodes well considering three of the last nine winners and two of the previous three runners-up featured in it.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.