Noel Fehily Blog | 11th November 2017
Noel Fehliy Blog – 11th November 2017
How’s it going? I’m off to Wincanton on Saturday for what is one of their biggest racedays of the season. I’m on some high-quality horses and I’ll tell you all about them later in the blog.
Charlie Hall reflection
Last weekend’s big race was the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby where Bristol De Mai was a smart winner. The main story though was Cue Card and Coneygree not getting round and it was clear the low sun had a lot to do with that. I wasn’t at Wetherby but the sun looked strong and very low. I can tell you from personal experience how difficult it is to ride in those conditions. It’s essentially like driving a car into the sun without a visor, so anyone criticising the jockeys needs to get real.
Riding the hot favourite
I was at Southwell on Monday and won on Chirico Vallis for Neil Mullholland. The horse was 1/10 so it was hardly a surprise, but in this game you take nothing for granted. When you’re riding long odds on shots you’re just looking to avoid silly mistakes and getting brought down. On Monday, once I got the first circuit out the way I knew I was ok. Getting beat fair and square on a hot favourite still hurts, but succumbing to a silly mistake is very tough to take.
Paddy out, Harry in on Cue Card
The big news of the week in the racing media has clearly been the decision of the Cue Card team to swap Paddy Brennan with Harry Cobden as jockey for the upcoming Betfair Chase. Paddy will no doubt be disappointed as they’ve had many great days together, mainly in the Betfair Chase. Having said that, if this had happened a year ago I reckon it would have stung him a lot more. As great a horse as he’s been, I can’t imagine Cue Card will have many more big days in the sun. Paddy will be hurting, and the weighing room will be behind him as it’s happened to us all at some point, but don’t be surprised if the banter starts to flow in a few weeks time.
On the flip side, it’s a great opportunity for Harry Cobden. He’s a really nice lad and is riding really well at the moment. At just 19 he looks to have a massive career in front of him.
As discussed earlier, I’m off to Wincanton tomorrow and here’s the lowdown on my rides…
He won very well at Exeter last month and looks the pick of the bunch here. The only negative is that he’s carrying a 6lb penalty for that win but I hope he’ll be good enough to deal with that. In truth, I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win.
This is my seventh time on this great little horse and his win at Sedgefield last month was the perfect prep for this. There’s only three runners in this hot little race and it’s the Paul Nicholls charge Modus that’s the one to beat. That’s going to be a tough ask to be honest, but this is a novice chase and anything can happen.
This fella owes me one as he chinned me in the Fred Winter when I was on Divin Bere back in March. My agent managed to get me the ride and it looks another cracking renewal of the Elite Hurdle. Looking at the form it’s Lough Derg Spirit that stands out and I was really impressed by Charbel last season but I’ll be hopeful of a big run from Flying Tiger. Like I say, he owes me one!
The team are hoping he runs a good one on Saturday after a mixed season last campaign. He disappointed us in the Irish Grand National but his third place finish in the Reynoldstown last season at Ascot was a positive for me.
I’ve been riding out on him at Harry Fry’s and it’s fair to say we like him a lot. This will be his first run as it will be for the majority of the field so I’m not really sure what he’s going to bump into here. These bumpers can be tricky, you may think you’ve found a gem of a horse only for them to well beaten in their debut bumper. I remember back in 2013 at Fontwell being very confident on Sergeant Mattie for Charlie Longsdon only for him to be beaten into second soundly. I was gutted, but the winner that day was Unowhatimeanharry, so you never know what you’re bumping into!