RACING Swan flies in but still sits on the fence

With the weather closing in fast on racing yesterday, the flying visit to Britain of Charlie Swan switched minds to the warming thought of impending championship races in which Ireland's outstanding rider looks sure to play a major part.

Wincanton, where Swan deputised for Richard Dunwoody on four Martin Pipe-trained runners, was the sole turf meeting to survive the elements. Huntingdon's card was rained off and today's meetings at Folkestone and Doncaster, where snow is the problem, quickly followed.

Even today's all-weather card at Southwell did not emerge unscathed. The Nottinghamshire track is raceable but the stables and car parks are flooded, so the meeting has been transferred to the owners' other Fibresand track at Wolverhampton.

The switch emphasises the new-found flexibility of racing's administrators and will save more than £100,000 in Levy money, but may have come too late for the West Midlands track to attract much of an attendance. Even the local evening newspaper, the Wolverhampton Express & Star, billed the meeting's location as Southwell in their final edition.

Despite severe conditions across the country, officials at tomorrow's televised meetings, Ayr and Cheltenham, are confident of racing taking place, but Uttoxeter has already been abandoned.

In Ireland, the Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown is in grave danger of abandonment for the second successive Sunday, but may be switched to Fairyhouse the same day.

That move would enable Dermot Weld to give Fortune And Fame a much needed re-introduction to the racecourse before the real thing at Cheltenham and allow Swan an opportunity to size up the opposition.

Ireland's champion jockey is the regular partner of his country's leading Champion hope, Danoli, but has also been linked with another long-term absentee, Montelado.

"I spoke to Danoli's trainer, Tom Foley, the other day," Swan said, "and he said that the horse was back in classic form and will run in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park on 18 February."

Montelado, whose latest affliction after nearly two years off the track is a common cold, is nevertheless on the way back. "He schooled and jumped well a week ago but he would want fast ground," Swan said.

Asked if he had decided which was he would partner at Cheltenham, Swan said: "I'll sit on the fence a little longer."

A more immediate intention is to capitalise on Dunwoody's absence. "As we race only on Thursdays and weekends in Ireland, I hope I'll be coming over here as long as everything goes OK this afternoon," he said.

Everything could have gone better from that point, on what Swan described as "a nice fast track". Too fast a track for Swan's mounts. None of the four, including two short-priced favourites, managed to win.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'