Noel Fehily Blog | 6th January 2018

Noel Fehily Blog | 6th January 2018

Happy New Year to you all. Hope you have a great 2018. My year kicked off with a winner at Cheltenham on New Years Day, but more on that later.

 

Crazy Christmas results

The festive period has been dominated by high-profile defeats and under-par performances from some of the sports big hitters. The defeats of Faugheen, Sizing John and (in the stewards room) Min have got people pontificating but I just see it as a huge coincidence. I suppose if you had to pinpoint one thing you’d take a look at the heavy ground, as for Faugheen, his run was too bad to be true and it may have been the bounce factor. If that had been his first run of the season rather than his second I’d be far more worried. As is always the case in racing, half the battle is getting the horses fit and ready to run.

 

Tikkanbar

My 2018 kicked off in style with Tikkanbar winning the opener at Cheltenham on New Years Day. It was a very sweet win for trainer Neil Mulholland as his dad owns the horse. His father Brian was over in England for Christmas so Neil threw the horse into this race to give his Dad a great day out. Things couldn’t have worked out better! I see Tikkanbar has been quoted for the Ballymore at Cheltenham but he’ll need to improve his jumping before he proves to be a contender in that race.

 

Sympathy for Adam Wedge

Like many I felt sorry for jockey Adam Wedge on New Years Day as he bypassed an obstacle at Exeter and landed himself a 28 day ban. There was a lot of confusion at the course that day with the meeting on, then off, then back on and then obstacles getting removed throughout the course so I can see why this happened. 28 days feels a very severe penalty and it will hit him hard in the pocket but Adam is a smart guy and he’ll bounce back.

 

…and also for Tom Bellamy

I also felt for Tom Bellamy the same day as he failed a breath test at Cheltenham after having “two or three” the night before to celebrate the New Year. Tom’s mistake was that he didn’t eat anything in the evening or in the morning and it’s cost him. You feel for him because he was in bed before midnight and was up riding out at 7am, it’s not like he turned up at Cheltenham half-cut from the night before.

 

Saturday rides

It’s Sandown for me on Saturday with four rides in the book.

 

1:50 Overtown Express
I was really pleased with him when he won at Newbury at the start of December but he took a crashing fall at Exeter just before Christmas. He’s schooled well since so it looks like that fall hasn’t left a mark. That day he had to make the running and I don’t think that suited him. He’ll get his heavy ground on Saturday and that will be right up his street.

 

2:25 Summerville Boy
I’m not sure he run his race at Cheltenham last time out in December. It was a very slowly run race and that just doesn’t suit him. This lad needs a strongly run race and hopefully he’ll get that here.

 

3:00 Houblon Des Obeaux
This is the first time I’ve ever ridden this horse so I’m really looking forward to it. He ticks all the boxes for me here, a Venetia Williams stayer on heavy going, it all adds up well. Roll on Saturday.

 

3:35 Brillare Momento
I’m riding for Martin Keighley and it’s another horse I’ve never ridden before. Just looking at his form he seems to like good ground so I’m not too confident of a big run here.