Racing: President poised to lift Cole's campaign: Paul Hayward on a colt whose talent can contribute to his trainer's title chance

PAUL COLE's chances of retaining his title of champion trainer look thin when you consider he is pounds 750,000 behind Richard Hannon in the prize-money table. They look a good deal better when you study the team of two-year-olds Cole has honed for autumn's largest targets.

No rookie runner is said to have shown more promise on the gallops at Whatcombe than Lord President, who exemplifies Cole's policy of introducing his later-developing two-year-olds quietly before raising the tempo in the final phase of the season.

'We like to win a maiden with them and then put them away for (mid) summer if possible,' Rupert Arnold, Cole's assistant, said yesterday. 'That's what we've done with Lord President, and tomorrow's race (the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster this afternoon) is his first big test.'

Gallops reports suggest that LORD PRESIDENT (nap 3.35) will pass the examination by defeating White Crown while Woodchat (2.40) confirms his candidacy for the Royal Lodge Stakes by beating Blush Rambler in the Stardom Stakes at Goodwood.

Cole also has Lindon Lime and Fret entered for Ascot's big two-year-old race, so once Woodchat has seen off his rivals at Goodwood he will need to edge ahead of his own stable-companions to be the yard's No. 1 contender. Meanwhile, Perfect Halo, who has won at Newbury and Salisbury, is being prepared for the Dewhurst Stakes.

Fahd Salman, who owns this flourishing squad, will be scooping up another generation of yearlings at this week's Keeneland sales, and when you look at the prices he and his advisors are prepared to pay, you wonder why anybody bothers to splash out millions for a single horse.

Lord President cost dollars 100,000 ( pounds 50,000), Lindon Lime dollars 55,000, Perfect Halo dollars 180,000 and Firm Pledge only dollars 25,000. Woodchat (dollars 220,000) and Fret (dollars 200,000) were also relatively cheap.

Salman's all-green silks will be hard-worn this weekend, too. Splendent, winner of the Gimcrack Stakes and yet another fast Cole juvenile, contests the Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp on Sunday while Great Palm tackles St Jovite and Dr Devious in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Great Palm's withdrawal from the Select Stakes at Goodwood takes some of the heat off the returning Environment Friend, though not enough to guarantee him victory. Goofalik (next best 3.40) should play the spoiler, while Many A Quest (2.35), Kasmayo (3.05) and Seal Indigo (4.10) could keep up a constant relay between living room sofas and payout windows.