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Paul Nicholls eyeing another stunning Cheltenham Festival feat with Aux Ptits Soins

  • Paul Nicholls aiming Aux Ptits Soins at the Ryanair World Hurdle
  • Coral Cup hero aiming for back-to-back Cheltenham Festival wins
Sam Twiston-Davies and Aux Ptits Soins (left, yellow silks) clear the last hurdle on the way to winning the 2015 Coral Cup at Cheltenham (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Aux Ptits Soins, who won the Coral Cup at last season’s Cheltenham Festival on his first start since joining Paul Nicholls from France, will attempt another remarkable feat in the Ryanair World Hurdle on March 17.

The six-year-old was making only his fourth ever racecourse appearance, and first for six months, when he beat Zabana by a neck under Sam Twiston-Davies at Cheltenham last year.

Nicholls is now aiming to perform another remarkable training feat by preparing Aux Ptits Soins to win the £300,000 World Hurdle without having had another race in between.

The Ditcheat-based handler explained:
“It's been a nightmare training him this season. He came back to us from his owner John Hales in September with a foot infection. He then had sinus trouble, two lots of surgery on a tooth and more surgery to clear up the sinus, so he had three lots of anaesthetic and surgery before Christmas. Hardly ideal. He spent a month on the treadmill and returned to us on January 1.”

But the New Year has brought new hope of the grey making up for lost time. Nicholls added:
“It would have been nice to have run him somewhere but circumstances stopped that and it’s put us on the back foot. 
“In the last three weeks he has really blossomed though and he went very nicely in racecourse gallops at Wincanton and last weekend at Kempton Park. 
"He's got loads of pace, is very talented and won first time out for us after a six-month break last March. It's a big ask for him to win the World Hurdle but he is a high-class horse."

Aux Ptits Soins faces plenty of stiff opposition in the World Hurdle, not least from his stable companion Saphir Du Rheu and the ante-post hot favourite Thistlecrack from Colin Tizzard's yard.

Last season Saphir Du Rheu ran a blinder in the World Hurdle, starting 5-1 favourite and finishing runner-up three lengths behind Cole Harden.

Nicholls added:
“Saphir Du Rheu has been working very well with Aux Ptits Soins and I’m very pleased with him. He has had treatment for a breathing problem and you'll now see him in a completely different light. We definitely haven't seen the best of him this season as he likes good spring ground.”


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Paul Nicholls eyeing another stunning Cheltenham Festival feat with Aux Ptits Soins

Aux Ptits Soins, who won the Coral Cup at last season’s Cheltenham Festival on his first start since joining Paul Nicholls from France, will attempt another remarkable feat in the Ryanair World Hurdle on March 17.

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