Noel Fehily’s Cheltenham Festival Blog | Day 1

188BET ambassador Noel Fehily gives us his hot-off-the-press thoughts as he looks ahead to Day 1 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.


Noel Fehily’s Cheltenham Festival Blog | Day 1

Hi guys. Hope you’re as excited as me for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. We’ve been waiting a long time for this!


The Night Before

People always ask me if I do anything different the night before the Festival, the answer is a definite no. I like to keep my routine as normal as possible and remain calm. I have to say though, it can be difficult as the thought of what’s coming up is exciting. We’re just a few hours away now and I can’t wait for that first flag to fall.


Heavy Ground Thumbs Up

So it looks like very testing ground then. I’m delighted! It’s going to be something different and will be a real tactical challenge. This is new territory at the Festival for all of us. To be honest, it suits me as a lot of my rides love getting their toe in.

I do think we’ll see some shocks. A few days ago I thought Altior was bomb-proof in the Champion Chase but now with this going it’s going to bring him a lot closer to the likes of Min. Min should relish the soft ground a lot more than Altior. Nicky Henderson will be tearing his hair out.


Just a minor issue for Altior

As for the other issue affecting Altior, I think it’s a minor issue. Once the puss is removed from a lame horse things can be normal again within 24 hours. If he’s cantering on Tuesday then it’s panic over, if not, then they have problems.


So, to my Day 1 rides:

1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle – Summerville Boy

He’s going to relish the heavy ground! My job is going to be a lot easier on him on Tuesday as I can just let him flow. In the past I’ve always been conscious of the fact the ground is too good for him and I’d have to be smarter because of that but now it’s all in my favour. He beat Kalashnikov at Sandown in January, why not again?


3:30 Champion Hurdle – Charlie Parcs

This is going to be a lot more difficult. I’ve always thought highly of this boy having won on him last season but he’s not going to have his ground here. He’s the kind of horse that needs to be dropped out cold in a small field on good ground. He won’t have that on Tuesday.


5:30 Close Brothers Handicap – Barney Dwan

Sadly another horse that’s going to need better ground. What I do like about him though is that he should stay, we saw that last year after his second place in the RSA behind Presenting Percy. Not bad form! I’m sure his last two wins will give him confidence but I’d be lying if I said conditions will suit.