Racing: Colonel Frank has new Doncaster target

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The Independent Online

Brendan Powell will re-route his progressive young chaser Colonel Frank, 5-1 favourite for Saturday's Racing Post Chase, to Doncaster on 5 March if Kempton falls victim to the weather.

Brendan Powell will re-route his progressive young chaser Colonel Frank, 5-1 favourite for Saturday's Racing Post Chase, to Doncaster on 5 March if Kempton falls victim to the weather.

Colonel Frank was taken out of a race at Wincanton on Saturday with a bruised heel, but will work on former Royal jockey Bill Smith's gallops at Hambledon in Hampshire today. Powell, who had his first winner since landing a treble at Fontwell on 24 January at Lingfield yesterday, said: "Colonel Frank will probably run in the Grimthorpe Chase, which is a 0-145 handicap, so he'll have top weight, at Doncaster if Kempton is off. The Grand National is looking unlikely for this year as his owners are not overly keen on the race and he's not had that much experience."

Colonel Frank has won four of his six races over fences and Powell has earmarked the Betfred Gold Cup at Sandown on 23 April as the eight-year-old's end of season target. Powell bought Colonel Frank from Bill Smith as he explained: "Bill, who trains Arabs, rang me up one day and said that there was a three-year-old that I should have a look at. I remember riding the dam, Fit For Firing, and bought Colonel Frank for around £20,000, so he looks a cheap horse now."

Snow has put Kempton's two-day meeting, due to start on Friday, in doubt. The Sunbury course has missed most of the bad weather, but the clerk of the course, Brian Clifford, said: "We are currently raceable but it has just started to snow. The forecast says that Thursday looks like being a pretty nasty day, which obviously would be a worry."

Venn Ottery, who was fifth in last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and joined Martin Pipe only three weeks ago, will miss the Racing Post Chase, while trainer Robert Alner will not decide whether Duncliffe, 8-1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill for the race, will run until just before declaration time as the eight-year-old is also in the Pendil Novices' Chase on the same card.

Prospects for Newcastle's big meeting on Saturday, which features the £75,000 Eider Chase, are far from bright. The clerk of the course, James Armstrong, said: "We are forecast to have more snow over the next three or four days. The going is now heavy with the snow melting." Today's jump meetings at Ludlow and Doncaster are both subject to precautionary 7.30am inspections. Bob Davies, the Ludlow clerk of the course, commented: "As long as the weather is no worse than the forecast we should be okay," while Jon Pullin, his counterpart at Doncaster, added: "If the forecast is correct, I'd be very optimistic."

* Ladbrokes have signed a three-year deal with Doncaster's management company, Arena Leisure, to sponsor the St Leger, racing's oldest classic.

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