Sunday 21 April 2019

Nolan hopes 'Disco' can help him dine at top table once again

Wexford trainer Paul Nolan. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Wexford trainer Paul Nolan. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE

Michael Verney H

Having a top-class prospect in his care is something which trainer Paul Nolan has missed in recent years but he’s hoping that Discorama can help catapult him back into the big time.

Horses like Accordion Etoile, Joncol, Noble Prince and Defy Logic saw the Wexford handler continuously dine at racing’s top table but recent seasons have been quiet in comparison.

With powerhouses like Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott going from strength to strength and increasing their numbers, Nolan was one of many who felt the pinch but 11 winners already this season suggests that the wheel may be turning.

“We’ve a couple of very loyal people that stayed with us and that’s basically what your yard is all about, it’s all about being able to keep things together and not get too down when you have too bad days,” Nolan said. “You try to keep getting up in the morning working away and without them we’d have to do something else. Everyone can handle the good times so it’s about handling it when you’re disappointed and going through a few bad seasons.

“That’s taking nothing from the lads that are banging in the winners, they’ve loads of numbers and you need numbers. It’s a numbers game but there’s plenty of young lads starting off too that are having a good run of it.

“So it’s about trying to keep your boxes full and trying to keep a positive outlook on things. It’s a great help when you have a couple of good horses, it makes it easier to get up.”

Having Discorama – second in this year’s Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival – in Sunday’s Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse puts a pep in his step. Keeping store horses before later offloading them helped things to stay ticking over – he would have liked to hold onto many of them –  but Nolan acknowledges that his expectations are totally different than Mullins and Co.

“You look forward to things. Every horse is important but the better ones make it a little bit easier but he (Discorama) still has to run well in it or you’re coming out dragging your heels behind you if he runs badly,” he said.

“That’s the beauty of having horses in the next race after that, you’re able to pick the thing up. If you’ve six fancied horses on the day and one of them wins and five of them run terrible, you’re still happy coming home.

“At least you’ve got one but when you come home and you’ve had one runner and he runs bad, you’re coming home like the world is going to end and so that’s why I say it’s a numbers game.”

Discorama won his beginners’ chase at Naas last month in good fashion and while he is likely to be one of the outsiders, further improvement is expected.

“He was very good first time out and we’re hoping he can improve again, he’ll have to improve to be Grade One standard. Kevin Sexton, who rides him at home, said he’d always see a fence better. He was a bit deliberate over hurdles but Bryan (Cooper) was happy with him at every stage,” he said.

Cooper is enjoying a change of fortune in the saddle after a difficult time since losing his retained role with Gigginstown and Nolan hopes the pair can continue their fruitful partnership.

“Cooper’s riding great, he’s a very good jockey and it’s a great asset for us. He’s a good young chap who just needs plenty of confidence and please God, he’ll keep going the right way,” he said.

“I’d love to be able to have him that he’s riding better horses, but you’d still always hope that you’re getting the best out of each horse that you have.”

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