Lorna Fowler insists that Colonel Mustard “deserves to take his chance” against the likes of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle favourite Jonbon in the Howden Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot on Friday.
The six-year-old Makfi gelding will be the oldest in the line-up for the Grade Two event and Fowler hopes his experience will be an asset against younger rivals.
Fowler, sister of former jockey Mark Bradburne, was a regular racing presenter before she married Harry Fowler and moved to Ireland, taking over the training licence upon the death of Harry’s parents.
“In theory, it was never the plan to train,” said Fowler, an accomplished former amateur rider who guided the late Sir Henry Cecil’s Plato to victory in the St Patrick’s Day Derby at Cheltenham in 2011.
“I love it, though – but not all the time. When it goes right it is wonderful. It was quite an easy transition to move to Ireland, really.”
Colonel Mustard is the flag-bearer for the family-run Rahinston Farm & Stud yard in Summerhill, County Meath, ending last season with a fine staying-on runner-up effort to Echoes In Rain in the Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
He showed his well-being with an authoritative success on his return to action a Galway maiden hurdle and has either won or been placed in six of his seven career starts.
Fowler had the option of running Colonel Mustard in the Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, but felt he could learn more by heading to the Berkshire track.
She said: “He’s in the Kennel Gate and we are planning to bring him over.
“We looked at Christmas at Leopardstown, but with the way the weather is, it is so crazy.
“So, I looked at the UK programme book and thought, ‘why not have a go at Ascot for the Supreme trial?’.
“We have targeted this race. He’s very much on course for it and is in very good form. He will travel over on Wednesday and we are well aware of what we are taking on, but we will be taking on that grade of horses either here (in Ireland) or there.
“It will give us a chance to see if he travels.
“So, I suppose while it is a bit of a fact-finding mission, we definitely have got him there in the best form. I’d be happy about that side of things.
“He has a bit more experience and he was a Grade One-placed novice last year and he is a much more mature horse this year without a doubt.
“On Friday, we’ll find out a bit more. He deserves his chance – we’ll have a go.”