NOEL FEHILY EXCLUSIVE: Energumene Wins If He Turns Up Like Last Year
Former jockey Noel Fehily has spoken to BoyleSports this week to preview some of the big races at Cheltenham Trials day.
Fehily also bemoaned a lower standard of riders in Horse Racing compared to the days when he was in the saddle, but started by stating the importance of going to the Cheltenham Festival off the back of a successful trials day at the Prestbury Park track.
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Hard To Recover From Setback On Trials Day At Cheltenham
“Trials Day is important for the horses that are going to the Festival, they have to go there and perform. If you have a blip there then you are probably on the back foot for Cheltenham, which is not ideal. You need these trials and you need them to go right.
“For instance, the Cleeve Hurdle has provided a winner at Cheltenham Festival 11 times in the past 22 years, so it’s a big pointer.
The whole idea is that you have to get your horse to the Festival in the best condition.
“The only way you could add an extra day to the Trials meeting is if you put more prize money into it and have bigger graded races, then the good horses will turn up for Trials Day. But, Britain has great racing at Christmas and you can’t have good horses running every month, because there just aren’t enough good horses to go round.”
Noble Yeats To Step Up On Stacked Card?
“In the Cotswold Chase, it will be interesting to see if Noble Yeats can step up. He is a very good horse who’s trained by a bit of a genius in Emmett Mullins and it will be interesting to see if he could step up to be a Gold Cup contender.
“In the old days most people would have been thinking they’d look after his handicap mark and go back for the Grand National. But, fair play, he is having a go and if he ends up being a Gold Cup horse then that would be great also.
“Energumene versus Edwardstone will be a great race in the Clarence House. Editeur de Gite is not a bad horse either as he won the Desert Orchid at Kempton at Christmas at 28-1. But…
…if Energumene turns up like he did last year, he should win.
“I have always liked Edwardstone. He was too keen as a hurdler and needed to relax a bit but since he has been chasing, he hasn’t done much wrong. He is the best of the British.”
Jockey Standard Was Better In My Era
“I don’t want to sound like a miserable old retired jockey, but I don’t think the standard is as good these days.
I watch some of them go round now and they look like just good amateurs.
“They have more grounding now, with jockey coaches and all sorts of things. They get a lot more now than we did, I can tell you.
“When I was starting, any of us could have been champion jockey. When I first walked into the weighing room, you had Richard Dunwoody and Jamie Osborne, who was unbelievably stylish.
“Norman Williamson was so gifted in the saddle, then there was Graham Bradley, AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald. All of them were good enough to be champion jockey. They were brilliant riders, unbelievable, great horsemen.
“I don’t think you can say the same now. Brian Hughes is different class and Harry Cobden is very good. He would have held his own in our era and he’s still young. Johnny Burke is exceptionally good too but after that, I’m struggling. I don’t know why there is a gap but there definitely is a gap.”
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