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Colonel Mustard is set to head to the Aintree Festival after placing 3rd in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last week before a potential career over the bigger obstacles after his summer break. 

Trainer Lorna Fowler gives us the latest news on her stable star and some other key horses to look out for heading to the Aintree Festival.

Fowler said, “If he seems in good form next week and everything is right and he’s bouncing, we will definitely consider Aintree for him.

“He’s had a light season and he’s had a lot of time in between his races, so this is definitely the shortest gap. I think at the moment we will enter him for the Grade 1 Mersey Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles and that will be the one we want to go for.

“Will we make an entry for the two miler? Probably not, but at the same time it’s silly to close off all options. But we’d aim for the two and a half miler on the Saturday.”

Colonel Mustard has arrived back home and well and Lorna updated us on how he’ll now prepare for that hopeful run at Aintree.

“He’s home safe, he happily travels very well. He’s tired - he knows he’d had a race but he was like that last time so that’s okay. He’s been in and out of the field, so he’ll do that for most of this week.”

The seven-year-old has impressed this season with some great performances including a second place behind Jonbon in the Kennel Gate at Ascot as well as a third behind Sir Gerhard at the Dublin Racing Festival. 

He ran a huge race at Cheltenham where he finished 3rd behind a very in-form Willie Mullins and Paul Townend partnership with State Man. 

Fowler told us how lucky she feels to have him in her string.

“We’re a very small yard, so to have a horse of his calibre is immense. It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be very well supported with owners who have allowed me the chance to hold onto a good horse. To get to Cheltenham with him is massive. It was a huge thrill and a lot of the owners were there so it was a massive thrill for everybody. Huge.”

Fowler then spoke about him running in handicap races, “It takes a lot more guts to run in a handicap, you need class and ability in Graded races, but you need a bit of grit in handicap races which is something he wasn’t up to last year, but he’s proven he is up to it this year.”

Moving into the new season we could see Colonel Mustard take on the bigger obstacles, although Fowler admits the decision is still yet to be made.

“I think we’d definitely look at the chasing option, but that’s not set in stone. I haven’t jumped him over a fence yet so we need to see how he jumps one. It’s definitely a big option, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. We want to see what the other top novice hurdlers are doing next season but chasing is definitely a big option on the list.”

With Colonel Mustard, there are also two other hopefuls from Fowler’s yard hoping to head to Aintree in a few weeks time, where the team could have a runner each day of the Grand National Festival.

“It’s under serious consideration to run Naughtinesse in the Grade 2 Mares Bumper which is on the Thursday. I think I’ll leave it a week to see if she’s in good shape and ready to go. And her half-sister Politesse - who’s done us incredibly proud so far - is in really good form, I’d like to aim her for the Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle over two and half miles on the Friday. I’d like to go but they have to be on their A-Game’s to go to these big festivals.”

Fowler also explained how the unusual weather this year may alter her plans moving into the summer.

“It’s so dry here, the ground is drying all the time but the rain could still arrive. I think with Colonel Mustard he will definitely need a break after this, if he went to Aintree he’d need a bit of time, whether he had another run this season, I don’t know. There’s always options to look at but I’d look at that in due course. 

“Politesse I’d definitely like to keep going, there’s a possibility to send her to France maybe to run over there, so I wouldn’t be finishing up with her providing the ground looks okay, we’d look to run her through May and if the France option comes up and the ground looks okay then maybe a bit longer.

“Naughtinesse, she’s incredibly lightly raced. We wasn’t able to get to Leopardstown with her, there was a small set back where she had slightly sore shins, you just can’t do it unless they’re 100%. So if we get as far as Aintree with her, then I’d certainly like to get something else in her.”

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