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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up