Paul Nolan is looking to continue the Irish party with Discorama in the Randox Grand National at Aintree Racecourse.

Horses trained in the Emerald Isle won 23 of the 28 races at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, including Nolan’s Mrs Milner taking the Pertemps Final.

And while they may not have the domination over the three days of action at the Liverpool track this week, they could easily have a fourth winner of the big one in the past five runnings.

Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now, the Willie Mullins-trained Burrows Saint and Minella Times – from the Henry De Bromhead stable who thrived at Prestbury Park last month – are all only behind British-based favourite Cloth Cap in the ante-post betting.

Just behind them at a best-priced 20-1 is Nolan’s Discorama, who looks to have a good chance himself.

The eight-year-old has run well at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the past, finishing third in last season’s Ultima Handicap Chase at Prestbury Park.

He appears a very good jumper, has stamina and will carry just 10st6lb in the Aintree marathon.

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Discorama bypassed the Cheltenham Festival and is now ready for the world’s greastest steeplechase.

Despite having not won since 2018, the County Wexford-based trainer is hopeful with luck in running Discorama can go close to victory next weekend.

He said: “He is due a bit of luck.

“He’s been placed at three Cheltenham Festivals, and he’s always off the pace that little bit – you need so much luck in running when you do that.

“You need things to happen in front of you. You need to be very lucky – and unfortunately, so many times he just didn’t have that.

“He’s certainly a horse we’d love to get his head in front, but it’s not easy with the way he runs and the way he stays behind the bridle a little bit.

“You have to sit and suffer – we’ve tried different ways of running him, and they didn’t seem to suit him.”



Bryan Cooper riding Mrs Milner clears the last to win The Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle during day three of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021. PA Photo. See PA Story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Alan Crowhurst/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse.

Nolan has sent three horses from his Toberona House stables to compete in the Grand National but Colonel Rayburn was pulled up in both 2005 and 2006 and Joncol also failed to get round in 2013.

Nolad added: “When you train horses, there are the races that you dream about – and the National is certainly one of them.

“The Gold Cup, the Irish National, the Irish Gold Cup – they’re the races everyone’s always taking about.

“You have your favourite races, and certainly the English National captures the heart of millions of people.

“The horse that wins it becomes a household name for a certain bit of time. It would absolutely be a dream come true if he was able to win.”

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Discorama’s joint owner is Andrew Gemmell, whose assocation with the star staying hurdler Paisley Park has brought him to the racing public’s attention.

Gemmell owns Discorama with Thomas Friel and he is dreaming of winning the National.

And just a few hours before the big race, Paisley Park – who was a third in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham – could set up a big-race double at Aintree when he bids for victory in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle.

Gemmell said: “It would be fantastic if he could put on a good show at Aintree.

“It’s everyone’s dream to win the National.

“He’s been a very consistent horse and he’s had three good runs at Cheltenham.”



Paisley Park (left) finishing third to winner Flooring Porter (centre, black/white) in the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on Thursday, March 18 2021 Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Paisley Park (left) finishing third to winner Flooring Porter (centre, black/white) in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on Thursday, March 18 2021 Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park is also said to be ready to try and win another Grade One contest.

Gemmell, who will be at Aintree with some owners now able to attend in a COVID-safe environment, added: “He’s come out of Cheltenham very well, and so he should be ready to go.

“We’d like a bit of rain beforehand, but he should be great.

“It’ll be fantastic to be back – it’s really exciting and it will be a dream come true to run both of them at Aintree.”

Nolan missed the Cheltenham Festival, but is delighted Discorama’s owners will be able to head to Aintree.

He said: “Hopefully everything stays on track, and I can go there. I do intend to travel myself.

“Andrew Gemmell and Tom Friel, they’re the two guys that own him, so it’d be great for the lads as well.

“Andrew was so disappointed that he couldn’t get to see Paisley Park go to Cheltenham.

“Thankfully the restrictions have been lifted, and that’ll allow owners to go to Aintree. That’s a huge bonus.”

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