Paul Nolan is deliberating whether to head straight to the Randox Grand National with Discorama after this week’s unveiling of the weights left the nine-year-old well-placed for the big race.
The horse was seventh in the National last season when carrying 10st 6lb from a mark of 149, with the Aintree assignment coming on the back of a 146-day absence after being fifth at Cheltenham in November.
Seen twice since last season’s effort over the spruce fences, he began his campaign with fifth place in a Galway handicap hurdle before being beaten just a length by Full Time Score in a Fairyhouse rated chase last week.
A return to the Cheltenham Festival has been under consideration, but he is now all but assured his place in the final National field after being allocated 10st 5lb (148) and so owners Andrew Gemmell and Thomas Friel will be left to decide whether to head straight to Liverpool or stop off at Cheltenham first.
“I will speak to Tom and Andrew on the decision whether to go to Aintree and Aintree alone, because if you run in the National, that is your season,” said Nolan.
“It’s a long-distance race and you’d normally have a rest after it, so that’s what the lads are assessing at the moment.
“We’ll all have our little piece to say and it will be majority rule.”
While Discorama has twice been placed at the Festival, he does only have two victories on his CV.
Nolan added: “There probably are at least 10 of the top 40 that won’t run, they have entries for the Gold Cup and things like that, their main aim is Cheltenham unless they go down at the first or second.
“On the basis of that, I’d say we’re more than likely to get in.
“I’ve said it before, but he’s won a maiden hurdle and a beginners’ chase, he’s nine years of age and those are just the two wins he’s had in his life.
“It’s just frustrating for a horse that’s running off a mark of 148 and he’s only won two races.”
Last season’s run was a gallant effort at 16-1, but Nolan feels the interrupted preparation for the race was the cause of Discorama tiring over the last handful of fences having previously travelled well.
“He got tired, we were hoping for a prep run but because of a little slight injury we couldn’t go there. I just think that was the reason for the way he stopped,” he said.
“He looked like he was competitive but he had been a little bit keen through the race, which wouldn’t have helped over the distance.
“He seemed to take to the fences well and I’m hoping that’s the decision we make, to give the lads a good run for their money and get him there in prestige order for the race.”