Past Winners » Lac Fontana


Lac Fontana is one of the most unexposed runners in the field and a handicap mark of 127 could under-estimate him a fair bit for this, his first run in a handicap.

A useful juvenile hurdler last season, he was beaten by the year-older Chatterbox on his hurdling debut before going on to finish third in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, a track that doesn’t really suit him, again against his elders. Allowed to take his chance in the Triumph Hurdle after that, on the basis that if he didn’t win he would still be a novice for this season, he didn’t run all that badly in finishing eighth.

He returned this season at Cheltenham’s October meeting and made fairly light work of a straightforward opportunity in a maiden hurdle. Raised in class after that, on the face of it he was really disappointing in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at the Open meeting, but Paul Nicholls said this week that the horse was riddled with stomach ulcers when they scoped him the next day. You can easily forgive him that run.

Apparently there were a few of Nicholls’ horses affected at the time and they all ran poorly. Having been treated, the first one of them to run back went from running well below par to winning by over 40 lengths at Taunton last Saturday. That bodes very well for Lac Fontana today. As a bonus, the handicapper dropped him 3lb after his last run.

Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old hurdlers have been flourishing this season. Saphir Du Rheu, Ptit Zig, Irish Saint and Sametegal have all won or gone very close in big handicaps, no doubt due to the fact that they were not over-raced last season as juveniles. That policy could pay off again today with Lac Fontana. He is a keen-going sort, so should really benefit from the switch to handicap company. His strength in the market this morning is encouraging given his run last time and his slight layoff since, and he is well worth backing at 7/1 or 6/1.