Thu, 21 Mar 2019
NOEL Fehily, who announced he would retire from the saddle after riding his seventh Cheltenham Festival winner last week, will end his illustrious career at Newbury on Saturday when he will ride for the last time.
The 43-year-old jump jockey, winner of two Champion Hurdles, two King George VI Chases and a Champion Chase, will bow out in front of many of his family, friends and supporters during the Be Wiser Jump Season Finale, Newbury’s last jumps fixture of the 2018-19 campaign.
Fehily, a native of County Cork, Ireland, has ridden more than 1,300 winners since he came to Britain in the late 90s, working in Lambourn for Charlie Mann, for whom he rode his first British winner in 1998, before becoming champion conditional in 2001.
He recorded his first Cheltenham Festival win on Silver Jaro in the 2008 County Hurdle and became a highly-successful big-race rider, with 91 Graded and Listed victories.
These were headed by Rock On Ruby (2012) and Buveur D’Air (2017) in the Champion Hurdle, Silviniaco Conti (2015, 2016) in the King George VI Chase and Special Tiara in the Champion Chase (2017).
He has also enjoyed successes on the likes of Altior and Master Minded.
Fehily partnered Eglantine Du Seuil to a 50-1 success in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last Thursday.
He said: “Saturday will be my last day riding – I didn’t want to drag on my retirement once I had made my announcement.
“It was always going to be sooner rather than later.
“I lived in Lambourn for nearly 16 years and Newbury has always been a local track.
“It seemed like the right place to do this when I looked at the fixture list.
“I shall enjoy the day, but it’s definitely going to be an emotional occasion as well.”
Fehily’s biggest success at Newbury came on Parlour Games in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle in 2014, although he had two near-misses in the Hennessy Gold Cup, now the Ladbrokes Trophy.
“The Hennessy was the race I would have loved to have won,” he said. “If you are living in Lambourn, it’s the big race for that time of year.
“I was second behind Native River on Carole’s Destrier in 2016 and second in 2008 when Air Force One was runner-up to Madison Du Berlais, but never quite managed to win it.”
Fehily will be hoping to bid farewell with a winner and among his possible mounts is Get In The Queue, the Harry Fry-trained horse who was rerouted from the Cheltenham Festival to Saturday’s Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper, for which there are 18 acceptors.
The day’s feature race is the EBF and TBA Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Series Final, a Grade 2 handicap, won last year by Roksana, who claimed the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last week.
Friday’s meeting features a Listed Bumper, the NRC Sales Running For Sue Ryder Charity Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, which has become a launchpad for a host of future stars.
The race has been rescheduled from Newbury’s February fixture which had to be cancelled due to equine flu.