Paul Nolan is struggling to find a suitable opportunity for his stable stalwart Discorama.
The seven-year-old has been placed at the Cheltenham Festival in each of the past three seasons, most recently finishing third behind The Conditional in the Ultima Handicap Chase in March.
Discorama made a promising start to the new campaign when beaten a short head by Gordon Elliott’s Milan Native in a conditions chase at Galway this month.
However, he has not managed to get his head in front in almost two years, and Nolan feels his charge is a victim of his own consistency.
“He’s in good form, (but) it’s just unfortunate you’re in no man’s land with a horse rated 150 like he is,” said the Enniscorthy-based trainer.
“He’s rated too high for handicaps in Ireland really. You’ve got the Troytown in Navan, but that’s a 0-150 race, so he’d carry top-weight in that – and we didn’t even enter him.
“You’d nearly need to be a Gold Cup horse to be winning a handicap chase in Ireland off top weight.
“Do you run him 10lb or 20lb wrong in the Grade Ones and Grade Twos, when he doesn’t seem to be up to that level, or do you carry top-weight in a handicap? You might have wait for some of the bigger handicaps and basically plan your season around those.”
Discorama’s admirable exploits have brought him just two victories in 17 career attempts.
Nolan added: “It’s awfully frustrating, because he only has two wins under his belt.
“He won a maiden hurdle and got a high rating; he won a beginners chase and got a high rating – and so far he can’t win a handicap.
“When you’re 10lb or a stone short of the top level – I’m not saying it’s a struggle, because he never runs a bad race, but it’s frustrating with a horse like him that you’ve only won two races.
“He definitely needs a trip, but I don’t think he needs the ground as heavy as we once thought – I think that’s why he runs so well in Cheltenham, because the ground is never as bottomless as it is here in Ireland.
“Please God there’ll be something for him. We’ll keep trying and see if we can improve him a length or two.”