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  Coral Cup presents its usual puzzle  

The Coral Cup is run over the old course at Cheltenham during the Festival and is usually one of the most challenging races across the four days to predict the winner of.

At the top of the betting for the race this year is the impressive novice Swincombe Flame from the Nick Williams Yard. The younger horses do have a good record in the Coral Cup in recent years, the last three winners have been no older than six so there will be no concerns about any lack of experience for connections of the mare and anyone following the Cheltenham racing tips should remember this.

Swincombe Flame's latest victory came at Kempton on January 14, she just pipped Featherbed Lane at the post to whom she was receiving a stone advantage in the weights in the Lanzarote Hurdle.

Another Mare with leading chances this year is Ixora. Jamie Snowden's runner boosted her claims with a win at Cheltenham in her previous start in a handicap hurdle over 2m5f at Prestbury Park. Tom O'Brien rode the five-year old to victory against the older horses where she carried 11-1 on her back.

Ruby Walsh looks set to saddle Poungach in the Coral Cup, that's after he finished second to Oscar Whiskey on New Year's Day in a respectable run, finishing two lengths behind Nicky Henderson's gelding who come home third in the Champion hurdle last season. Anyone betting at Betfair will be wondering if he will improve for the outing.

Poungach returned to the track in December after an 11-month layoff which didn't seem to affect him as he cruised to victory by eight lengths Sandown with Walsh in the saddle in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle. If connections decide against the Coral Cup, the World Hurdle is another possibility for Poungach. 

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