Colonel Mustard set for switch at Kelso as Lorna Fowler eyes double
Third in the County Hurdle behind State Man at last year's Cheltenham Festival, the eight-year-old was sent novice chasing in the early part of this season and was last seen finishing a well-beaten second to Arkle hope El Fabiolo. Fences were soon placed on the back-burner with the Betfair Hurdle entering the picture, but when the unseasonably quick ground ruined that idea, a new plan was quickly hatched, which begins at one of Fowler's old stomping grounds this weekend. The winner of the Kelso handicap will qualify for a bonus of £100,000 if following up in any race at the Festival and although the County Meath-based handler insists the Morebattle Hurdle is definitely plan A, victory could set up a return to the County Hurdle in just over two weeks. "We just need to jump through a few more hoops," said Fowler. "He's doing his last piece of work today, but I'm very happy with him and as long as we get through today, then we'll be all set to go for the Morebattle. "The plan had been to go for the Betfair Hurdle, the ground scuppered that one and then we kind of had our eye on the County, but this was kind of staring us in the face a little bit. "Obviously it is a massive ask to travel twice, but the bonus is a very tasty carrot to have a go at. It's my old stomping ground and I'm happy with any excuse to go back to Kelso. The ground looks like it will be in good nick and we're all set. "The target is very much the Morebattle - it's a very valuable race and it fully merits being our target - but the double is in mind given the bonus that is on offer. It's plenty of travelling but hopefully it is well worth a go." No stone has been left unturned by Fowler in her bid to pull off the feat achieved by Emmet Mullins with The Shunter in 2021, and Colonel Mustard has been given plenty of practice over the smaller obstacles since his short spell over fences. Fowler added: "He's been back over hurdles and schooled over the white ones a couple of times as well, so we have made sure he knows what they are like. It does make a difference to them, they definitely see them. "We also gave him a schooling race at Fairyhouse when we didn't go for the Betfair and the timing tied in quite well - it came at a good time anyway."
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