Noel Fehily Blog | 4th November 2017
Noel Fehily Blog – 4th November 2017
How you all doing? It’s great that the jumps season is well and truly underway now and there’s some excellent racing coming up this weekend. I have a busy day at Ascot on Saturday which I’ll tell you about in a bit.
Highlight of the week
The highlight of my weekend last week was riding Bags Groove to victory at Aintree on Sunday. The six year old is progressing well this season and he’s likely to tackle another decent handicap in the weeks ahead as we bid to improve him further.
Huge respect for Aidan
No doubt about what the top performance in racing was last weekend. Doncaster was the venue as Aidan O’Brien picked up a record breaking 26th Group 1 win of the season. Yeah, I’m a jumps man through and through but I still hugely appreciate what this man has done. It’s an unbelievable achievement for him to do that and he deserves all the plaudits he receives. What I admire about him is his ability to transfer his talents all around the world and I’m sure we’ll see that this weekend in the Breeders Cup.
Sympathy for Chaloner
I was sad to read ex-jockey George Chaloner’s article in the Racing Post this week. George has had a bad time of it with some tough falls on the all-weather and he’s clearly decided that he no longer wants to put his body through this tough sport. He’s definitely made the right call ending things now rather than letting things drag on. I wish him the best. I can’t say I’ve ever felt as low as that, but we jump jockeys tend to expect these bad falls and injuries.
Charlie Hall thoughts
The Charlie Hall at Wetherby looks a cracking race on Saturday and it’s great to see Coneygree and Cue Card heading the betting. If you had to push me, I’d be with Coneygree. The 6lb allowance he will receive from Cue Card I think is crucial and there was lots to like about his run at the Punchestown Festival at the end of last season. I, like everyone else, am a big fan of Cue Card but I’ve a funny feeling he might end up in the Ryanair this year. At 12 years old it will be a big ask for him to run in the Gold Cup.
As I mentioned, I’m at Ascot on Saturday with a number of rides…
American Gigolo is my best ride of the day. He run in a Grade 1 at Aintree in April and followed that up with an excellent win at Kempton. I reckon he will have improved over the summer and even off top weight he looks the one to beat in the opener on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to getting back on him. This is his first run for Harry Fry.
I won on him at Uttoxeter back in May and he ran well at Newton Abbot last time out when he finished fourth. This trip of 2 miles 3 looks absolutely perfect for him and for that reason I’m hopeful of a decent run on Saturday.
Regular jockey Adrian Heskin is off to Wetherby on Saturday so I’ve got the nod on Max Ward. It’s the first time I’ve ridden him. Take a look at his run at Aintree when he finished fourth, the form looks good. Ahead of him that day were Cloudy Dream, Top Notch and Flying Angel. This won’t be as competitive a race.
We need rain with this lad. If it’s not soft enough he simply won’t run. He was 4th in the County Hurdle at the Festival this year despite not handling the hill very well. This is a big ask here off top weight, and I’ll stress again, we need it soft.
Another horse off top weight for me on Saturday and another one that needs it soft. Ran a cracker in the Hennessy to finish second to Native River last season but hasn’t run in 2017 and this looks a stiff task.
Having his first ever run in the card-closing bumper. Anthony Honeyball’s runners always perform well in bumpers so I’m looking forward to this ride. Fingers crossed I can end the day on a high.