Cheltenham: Lac Fontana the pick of Nicholls’ Coral Cup entries

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Considering only two favourites have won the Coral Cup in the 21 renewals in its history and just one has managed to finish in the first four in the last 10 years, it would take a brave soul to back Aux Ptits Soins.

Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old is at the head of the pack with Ladbrokes at 6/1 but cannot be seriously considered when there’s a former Festival winner stable mate snuggled warmly into the middle of the list at 20s.

Lac Fontana took the County Hurdle from this year’s Champion Hurdle outsider Arctic Fire 12 months ago and returns Prestbury Park form of three wins from six rides at the course.

A Grade 1 victory over Aintree followed that ride, again against a competitive field with 153-rated chaser Splash of Ginge left in tow.

After developing his credentials with those runs last season, the gelding re-emerged this term with an credible showing against the newly crowned Champion Hurdle victor, Faugheen.

A horror-show against Rock On Ruby last time out stretches Lac Fontana’s price here, but with Paul Nicholls far from concerned about that blip, neither should we.

“Lac Fontana is a good spring horse – he always comes good at this time of year,” Nicholls said, which is more of a case than can be made for Aux Ptits Soins, who is only making his third start over hurdles and his first in the UK.

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.