Nolan ready to rock at Cheltenham with Discorama
Paul Nolan believes he has two exciting Cheltenham Festival prospects on his hands with Discorama and Latest Exhibition booking their ticket to the Cotswolds in contrasting fashion at Naas on Sunday.
Ballyward was slashed from 16/1 into 5/1 for the National Hunt Chase over 4m at the Festival based on his Grade Three success at the Kildare track but Discorama was in the process of making it a duel with Willie Mullins' charge before crashing out at the last under Bryan Cooper.
Nolan reported his six-year-old to be none the worse for the spill yesterday and having finished second in last year's Martin Pipe, the Wexford trainer is excited about making the trip across the Irish Sea in March.
"I was dreading going to see him an hour after the race as it was a bad enough fall, but he seems absolutely perfect. Bryan was only rowing on him and he's a horse that stays well," said the Enniscorthy handler.
"We'll never know what would have happened, but that's the game we're in - the fences are there to be jumped. We'll be looking to bring him across to Cheltenham. I don't know what the handicapper will do.
"But he'll be entered in the novice handicap chase and he's in the RSA (25/1) and the four-miler (12/1). I'll speak to his owners and see where we go. He's owned by Thomas Friel along with Andrew Gemmell, who also owns Paisley Park."
Latest Exhibition got off the mark at the second time of asking to book his Champion Bumper ticket while Nolan also revealed that time has been called on the racing career of recent chase scorer Meri Devie, which he believes will become a "lovely broodmare".
Another horse with Cheltenham as an intended target is Carlo Biraghi but Fozzy Stack is keen to get more hurdling experience into the son of Galileo - 10th in last year's Irish Derby - before tackling the Triumph Hurdle (for which he is a 16/1 chance).
The four-year-old - Stack's first winner from his first runner in the jumps sphere when scoring comfortably at Punchestown earlier this month - could visit Naas early next month as a final preparation for Cheltenham but that decision depends on the going.
"It's more than likely he'll go to Naas a week on Saturday, hopefully all being well, for a four-year-old race. We've given him an entry in the Triumph, so we'll see what happens. If Naas came up very soft we may not go there. We'd have to look and maybe go straight to Cheltenham," the Tipperary-based trainer Stack said.
Meanwhile, the Dublin Racing Festival is La Bague Au Roi's next target with Warren Greatrex's Grade One-winning mare an intended runner in the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown this Sunday.
"We are all set to go over to Ireland this weekend. She has the entry at Sandown (Scilly Isles Novices' Chase on Saturday) just in case there are any weather issues and we can't get over on the ferry, but we will aim to get her over Thursday rather than Friday if we need to," Greatrex said.