Leading Supreme hope Thedevilscoachman to miss Cheltenham for Fairyhouse

Noel Meade has decided against a Cheltenham Festival bid for leading Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle contender Thedevilscoachman, opting to keep the exciting five-year-old on home soil for the Fairyhouse and Punchestown festivals.

The JP McManus-owned youngster featured in the top six of the market for the Grade 1 curtain-raiser, priced up at 14-1, but a minor issue since his win in a Listed novice hurdle at Punchestown last month made up connections' minds to skip a clash with Appreciate It at Cheltenham.

He had also been entered in the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle.

"He isn't travelling and will probably stay at home to run at Fairyhouse in the novice hurdle there," said Meade, likely referring to the Grade 2 Hardy Eustace Novice Hurdle over 2m on April 4.

"He just got a little nick on the inside of a hind leg the last day he ran and that sort of held him up for a week. Although he's 100 per cent fine, it made the decision not to travel easier."

Meade added: "He's got a lot of boot and is one I really like so hopefully he stays right. I know you're always hoping to go to Cheltenham but I'm not that upset to have to miss it given it's tricky to go there after just three or four runs over hurdles."

Jeff Kidder could yet represent the five-time festival-winning trainer at the 2021 meeting if getting into the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, while no decision has been made on the participation of Beacon Edge or Diol Ker in the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle.

The eight-time champion jumps trainer confirmed he has stepped down from his position as chairman of the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association, having stayed in the role slightly longer than initially intended during the long-running defamation case involving IHRB head of security Chris Gordon.

Meade said: "I had my final meeting at the AGM last Tuesday. I think I've been there for 14 years. They'll elect the new chairman at the next committee meeting, which I assume will be held on Zoom but I'm not sure when."

Elsewhere, the Curragh racecourse is seeking a new ceo to succeed current boss Pat Keogh, who took over the role from Derek McGrath on an interim basis in July 2019.

The former Leopardstown chief executive will remain in the position to ensure a smooth transition, with the deadline for applications on March 29.