Ladbrokes ambassador Noel Fehily reminisces about his illustrious career before his final ride this Saturday.
It’s very difficult to pinpoint one favourite memory during my career, as I’ve had a lot of very good days.
Winning the Champion Hurdle twice on Rock On Ruby and Buveur D’Air is up there. Winning the Champion Chase with Special Tiara and my two King George VI Chase wins on Silviniaco Conti were definitely highlights of my career too.
Winning the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown on Unowhatimeanharry for JP McManus was also a very good day. It’s hard to pick one!
“Silviniaco Conti holds a special place in my heart.”
Altior is the best horse I’ve ever ridden. He is certainly the best two-miler I’ve ridden anyway.
Silviniaco Conti was also so special. I won six Grade 1’s on him, including two King Georges so he was exceptionally good. He holds a special place in my heart. I loved riding him. He was a real straight forward horse to ride, a great jumper, and I had a long association with him, more so than any other horse.
“Charlie Mann had the greatest influence on me in my early days anyway.”
When I came to England I was working for Charlie Mann. He was a great boss. He gave me my first chances and taught me a lot about race riding. He had the greatest influence on me in my early days anyway.
There was no turning point as such in my career; I don’t think anything happened for me very suddenly. I suppose I started riding a few for Paul Nicholls and I was getting to ride better horses.
With Ruby Walsh getting injured then, I started to ride a lot more of these good horses. It was a big plus for my career.
“Then you’d have the banter with all the lads in the weighing room. I will miss that a lot.”
When I think about what I am going to miss the most, I would say the daily routine. I have had the same routine for the last twenty years where I’d ride out in the morning and go racing in the afternoon.
Then you’d have the banter with all the lads in the weighing room. I will miss that a lot. It is just that routine, day in day out. You know where you are going next, you are constantly looking at entries, and your week is planned out for you.
I will probably be happy the first couple of weeks not doing it but after that I think it is something I will miss.
What I won’t miss is the miles. Up and down the motorway can be hard work, dealing with the traffic. Today for instance, I’ll spend six or seven hours in the car. That is an average day.
“If asked if I have any regrets, I will say definitely not. I have enjoyed it all.”
Looking at future plans, I have no set plans. I have a little bit going on at home with a few young horses and the sales and things like that for the time being.
I need to take a bit of time to decide what the next step is but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I am going to keep my options open.
If asked if I have any regrets, I will say definitely not. I have enjoyed it all.
This weekend is going to be an emotional one. I have a load of family coming over from Ireland, lots of friends too.
My last ride, Get In The Queue (5pm Newbury), is definitely going to be emotional and I just hope it wins! He’s a young green horse so anything can happen but he’s a good horse.
He’s had two runs so far this season, winning both of them so he looks very good. Hopefully he can follow up and win again. No pressure!