There’s nowhere else to begin this week but by saying goodbye and all the best to the retiring Noel Fehily. Noel bowed out at Newbury last Saturday at the age of 43, on his terms and with more than 1,300 winners on the board. I can pay him no higher compliment than to say he was a very good jockey but an even better person. A great fellow, he was a seriously nice guy who I always got on well with. A gentleman as well as a great horseman, you could learn so much just by watching him. He’s going to leave quite a hole in the weighing room and will be missed by all of us.
In his absence this week, I think it’s fair to say I’ve enjoyed a mixed bag… A couple of falls I’ve taken mean I’ll be missing this weekend entirely. The opportunity to recharge the batteries with three massive days at Aintree looming is a valuable one, especially when returning stiff and sore having hit the deck more than once.
On the plus side, my midweek double at Hexham was enjoyable and takes me up to 146 winners for the season. It was the first time I’d ridden Glinger Flame and he’s one who has the makings of a nice chaser in time, while you’d have to hope Sidi Ismael is one to look forward to next season after his smooth bumper win.
Anyway, just because I’m not riding doesn’t mean I won’t be watching, and I think one name worth keeping tabs on is a smart young horse in the shape of Liva for Donald McCain and Daryl Jacob at Ascot on Sunday (2.45pm). I liked him when i rode him to be second at Musselburgh on new year’s day, he’s one who jumps and stays and will likely be suited by Ascot, given how he’s enjoyed going right handed.
Check back next week when I’ll be updating my FansBet blog on all three days of the Grand National Meeting.
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