Paul Nolan is already excited to see what Latest Exhibition can achieve over fences next season following his narrow defeat at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
Having won a Grade Two at Navan and a Grade One at Leopardstown on his previous two starts, the seven-year-old came mighty close to completing his hat-trick in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – going down by just a neck to the Willie Mullins-trained Monkfish.
Connections have not yet decided whether to have one final outing this season at the Punchestown Festival, should the meeting go ahead despite the coronavirus outbreak.
But either way, Nolan already has one eye on a novice chasing campaign in the autumn
“When you get beaten as narrowly as Latest Exhibition did, you always wonder whether if things had gone a bit differently it might have changed the result, but he ran a good race and he’s come home in one piece, which is the main thing,” said the Enniscorthy-based trainer.
“I need to speak to the owners about whether we go to Punchestown or not, but either way, you’d like to think he’ll be up there among the top rank of novice chasers next season.”
Latest Exhibition was one of three runners for Nolan at this year’s Festival.
Having filled the runner-up spot in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle and the National Hunt Chase at the showpiece meeting in two previous visits to Prestbury Park, Discorama ran another fine race in defeat to finish third in the Ultima Handicap Chase.
The seven-year-old is being aimed at the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, along with stablemate Fitzhenry, who placed sixth in the Kim Muir under Patrick Mullins.
Nolan said: “You always coming away from Cheltenham wanting more, but all the horses ran well and I thought it was a great week.
“Discorama ran a good race again. I think the breathing operation he had made a big difference to him – even in the last couple of weeks running up to Cheltenham, you could see he was better in himself and looked better in himself.
“I’m always trying to find ways you can improve the next day and he was just a bit fresh and keen. I thought he was close enough if good enough at the second-last and the last, and he just didn’t come up the hill like he did the previous two years.
“Fitzhenry ran a good race as well and the plan would be to aim both horses at the Irish Grand National, if we’re still racing by then.”