Noel Fehily’s Blog | 13th January 2018

Noel Fehily’s Blog | 13th January 2018

Hey guys, hope you’re well and looking forward to the weekend. I’m off to Kempton on Saturday with a decent book of rides, hoping for an afternoon as sweet as last week.


Grade 1 glory last Saturday

Summerville Boy’s win in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle last Saturday at Sandown was not entirely unexpected even though he was the outsider of the field. I’ve always liked him and there were valid excuses for his third place behind Western Ryder at Cheltenham before Christmas. He was very free that day as the pace was slow and I knew he’d benefit from a stronger run race like he got at Sandown.
I was hoping no one would notice that I lost one of my irons in the closing stages of the race but annoyingly ITV Racing highlighted it. Grr. At the last he fired me up and the iron come loose. Luckily it came late in proceedings as your strength just isn’t as prominent when that happens. In all honesty, it was a schoolboy error.


The return of American

It looks like one of Harry Fry’s stable stars American will run in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham at the end of the month and I’m really looking forward to getting back on him. He needs to be back on the track so we can boost his confidence. The Cotswold Chase will be a very hard test for him but it should be more straightforward than a really competitive handicap. Harry has been very happy with him since the Ladbrokes Trophy and all roads lead to Cheltenham at the end of the month.


No need for Festival Veterans race

I’ve seen a lot of talk about adding a veterans race to the Cheltenham Festival line up after the excellent contest in that discipline at Sandown last Saturday. I have to say I’m not keen. The Festival is already full with seven races on each day. Wouldn’t you have to lose one of those races to fit this in? For me that wouldn’t be right. Keep it at Sandown where it receives strong coverage and works very well.


Matt’s still the man

I see Matt Chapman is no longer involved with ITV’s Dancing On Ice programme. I’ve never watched it and wouldn’t have a clue what it’s all about or how he got on last weekend but what I do know is that Matt Chapman is brilliant for racing and I like watching him on TV.


Saturday rides

It’s off to Kempton for me on Saturday…


12:20 Rays The Money
A debut run under Rules for Charlie Mann’s horse here and it’s going to be a big ask for him to get his head in front. I haven’t even schooled him to be honest so it’s a blank canvas for me. It’s all about getting him to enjoy himself over the first few hurdles and get into a rhythm. There looks some potential smart types in here so this will be hard.


12:55 Chef Des Obeaux
I’m riding for Nicky Henderson here and I think this six year old has a very good chance of winning on Saturday. I rode him at Newbury in early December and I was very impressed as he finished second in a decent novice hurdle. He followed up with a win at Uttoxeter just before Christmas and I expect him to build on that here and run very well.


1:30 Bishops Court
He goes off top weight here but I’m much more concerned with the drying ground. He won on Heavy at Wincanton on Boxing Day and he sure as hell likes to get his toe in. He travels well and I love riding him even though I had an horrific fall off him at Sedgefield at the end of 2016. As long as the ground isn’t too dry he’ll have a chance.


2:40 Bags Groove
I’ve won twice on him this season already and he’s definitely moving in the right direction but this looks a very competitive race. I can make a case for all the horses at the top of the betting here and there’s probably better handicapped horses lining up than my mount. Put it this way, if he finishes in the place we’ll be delighted.