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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam