Swan may run No Discount at Festival

 

No discount may yet bid to give Charlie Swan a first Cheltenham success as a trainer in next Wednesday's Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle.

Swan, who had 13 successes as a jockey at the Festival, had been wary of taking No Discount to the left-handed track after the horse persistently jumped to the right in his last race at Naas, where he defeated Oa Baldixe.

However, a back specialist has discovered a vertabrae problem in No Discount's wither, and Swan is hopeful that that explains the horse's tendency to jump right.

"Hopefully that will make a difference, and he has been in really top order since the Naas race," Swan said yesterday. But No Discount's appearance still depends on Youlneverwalkalone skipping a clash with Monsignor in the SunAlliance and running instead in the Capel Cure Sharp Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

"If they don't clash I might take one on. They say you should never be afraid of one horse, because anything might happen to it, but it rarely happens to two of them," Swan said.

"No Discount also has an entry in the Coral Cup, but he'd only run in that if something happens to Ross Moff who's in the same ownership," he added.

Swan's only previous runner at Cheltenham as a trainer was Lady Moskva who finished ninth in last year's National Hunt Chase.

Like everyone then, it seems Swan is waiting on the decision of Christy Roche and JP McManus as to which Festival race the potential superstar Youlneverwalkalone will go in.

Youlneverwalkalone is 2 to 1 favourite with Paddy Power for the two mile race and a 9 to 4 second favourite for the SunAlliance, but Roche is in no hurry to satisfy public curiosity.

"At the moment there is an advantage in not committing ourselves," Roche said yesterday. "If we commit ourselves now all we could end up doing is leading people astray and we'd have you guys in the media coming back and slagging us."

The targets for Roche's other Festival runners are more clear. Gordon Elliot will ride Shannon Gale in the Kim Muir, and Paul Moloney will be on Young American (Triumph Hurdle) and Spokesman (County Hurdle). Swan will possibly be on Afarad in the County also.

Conor O'Dwyer, in addition to Youlneverwalkalone, could also be on the Roche-trained Grimes in the Arkle Trophy. "The ground will play a big part in whether Grimes runs," Roche reported.

Noel Meade hopes to have at least eight runners at the festival with Hill Society bypassing the Queen Mother Champion Chase in favour of the Grand Annual Chase. Other prominent Meade-trained runners will include Oa Baldixe (SunAlliance Hurdle) and Sausalito Bay (Supreme Novices Hurdle.)