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Alan to show noble spirit

Nicky Richards hopes Noble Alan will atone for an expensive spill in the Vote AP Gold Cup in today's skybetvegas.com Handicap Chase at Doncaster.

The grey had been travelling well in the race won by Poquelin when he fell at the second-last. He had earlier finished third behind Woolcombe Folly at Ascot when trying to give that rival weight, putting him in a positive light.

"He should have a chance and was travelling good when he fell last time," said Richards. "So he seems in good form -- I've schooled him and everything is fine with him.

"You'd like to think Doncaster would suit him -- he's a pretty fast horse so hopefully he should be fine there. The ground is absolutely perfect for the horse. I think after this the plan could be to head to the Grand Annual with him at Cheltenham."

Alan King's Oh Crick is likely to follow a similar route. Winner of the Grand Annual in 2009, he has struggled in the best races over two miles since. "We were considering keeping him back for Cheltenham, but this is a £40,000 prize and too good to miss, so he will run there and then be freshened up for the Grand Annual," said King.

Irish Independent