Noel Fehily’s Cheltenham Blog | Day 2
Well that was fun! My 2018 Cheltenham Festival got off to the perfect start when Summerville Boy won the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Hope some of you backed him after reading the blog last night or my videos last week.
Yeah, it wasn’t straight-forward. He could have made life a lot easier for himself if he hadn’t made those mistakes. I must admit, I thought it was game over when he hit the last but he rallied well and was too good for Kalashnikov. To come into the winners enclosure on the opening race of the Festival was a great feeling and something I’ll remember for a long time. It was magic.
It’s a funny old world. We were all gutted when If The Cap Fits came out this race two weeks ago, but in truth he would have struggled in that ground. He’ll get his chance to shine at Aintree.
What’s next for Summerville Boy? He’s a definite chaser in the making, but I suppose after a win like that they might decide to go down the Champion Hurdle route next season.
Two in a row for Buvuer
I was on Charlie Parcs in the Champion Hurdle and after taking a firm lead in the race he stopped very quickly. I was pleased for Buveur D’Air winning again. I don’t think he got his ideal race. It was messy and wasn’t a truly run contest. He showed his grit despite things not going his way.
Onto my rides on Wednesday…
1:30 Ballymore Hurdle – Black Op
I think he’ll go ok in the ground and I reckon he’s got a very good chance if he gets a strongly run race. He won at Doncaster in tough conditions back in January and followed that up with a fine performance at Cheltenham. He finished second that day to Santini, he’s now favourite for the Albert Bartlett so is clearly talented. Yes, we take on Samcro, but I’m not sure what Gordon Elliot’s horse has beaten this season.
2:10 RSA Chase – Monalee
One of my best rides of the week for sure, he is a very good horse. I was on him for a big trial race at Leopardstown last month and he won very well. That was after taking a heavy fall at the same track over Christmas so he’s clearly a brave horse to come back from that. He was second at the Festival last year to Penhill in the Albert Bartlett so we know he loves Cheltenham. He ticks all the boxes for me and the ground shouldn’t be an issue.
2:50 Coral Cup – C’est Jersey
It’s great to be riding for Willie Mullins but he has better horses in this race than C’est Jersey. He finished 10th in last year’s Albert Bartlett and was second in heavy ground at Fairyhouse, but overall his form just doesn’t stack up.
3:30 Champion Chase – Special Tiara
The ground has gone against last year’s hero I’m afraid but I’m hoping he puts in a decent effort. The race itself is fascinating and on this ground I can’t see Altior being as effective. If ever there was an opportunity for Min or Douvan to beat him it’s here.
5:30 Champion Bumper – The Big Bite
I won on him last year at Lingfield in a bumper and was very impressed with him. He’s a horse with a good action though and I just don’t think this ground is going to play to his strengths I’m afraid. The ground started out ok on Tuesday but it got worse as the day progressed and Wednesday will be a struggle.