Racing: Festival is Lake aim

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LAKE KARIBA raised hopes of Paul Nicholls ending his Cheltenham Festival drought when he ran away with the pounds 30,000 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter yesterday.

Nicholls has yet to send out a winner at the Cheltenham three-day meeting in March in seven years with a licence but Lake Kariba could change all that in next year's Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Robert Alner had to explain a poor effort by his Super Tactics, a warm favourite. The stewards were told the ground had become softer than anticipated and the gelding needed faster going. The stewards accepted those explanations.