By Samantha (@sam_angelina22)
This Saturday marks the end of an era as weighing room legend Noel Fehily hangs up his boots.
Fehily’s career was an illustrious one. He won two King Georges on the incredible Silviniaco Conti and two Champion Hurdles with Rock On Ruby and Buveur D’Air. Fehily won at last year’s Cheltenham Festival in the opening race riding the Tom George trained Summerville Boy and struck gold this year on 50/1 outsider Eglantine De Seuil in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle for Willie Mullins and that is when he announced his retirement.
He will round out his career thus Saturday at one of his favourite tracks – Newbury. He has three booked rides and he has some good chances. It is a shame that the ITV Racing team aren’t at Newbury for his last hurrah but Kelso offers a nice substitute. Viewers will be treated to four races from the Scottish track as well as three from Newbury.
The first televised race is the EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase (13:50), which is a qualifier for the Mares’ Chase Series, from Kelso. Only four mares go to post and Paul Nicholls and Grech and Parkin team up with Kapatuna. She’s a chancey jumper and as a result has fallen twice in 2019, including last time, so that’s a worry. KALAHARI QUEEN won last time out and the form of that has worked out considering the third has since got her head in front since. She’s s consistent and I’m expecting a big run. Northern trainer Nicky Richards has My Old Gold, who has won over further in the past. The other horse Tokaramore is making her chasing debut.
Next up we go down south to Newbury for the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase (14:05). Last year’s Scottish Grand National winner Joe Farrell has top weight and he has only been seen once this season and he ran very well considering the long absence. CLASSIC BEN battled on to win, beating Chic Name, at Sandown last month by a neck and has been put up 4lbs for that. He’s a very progressive six year old and is my idea of the winner. Colin Tizzard‘s veteran Grand Vision will give a bold view out in front but hasn’t won for a while.
Back to Kelso next and to the William Hill Handicap Hurdle (14:25). The mare Irish Roe is classy on her day but has struggled to get her head in front of late. Winston C is having no problem winning and is currently looking for a three timer. He’s lightly raced over jumps but has done nothing wrong so far. This will be his handicap debut. Tom George send up Champagne City, who was beaten eleven lengths first time out this season by Al Dancer. He ran well last time and could figure. David O’Meara doesn’t have many jumpers but his INGLEBY HOLLOW has won his last two very and should be bang there.
That horse’s form links into the Be Wiser Insurance Juvenile Hurdle (14:40). GROVEMAN followed in Ingleby Hollow last time out. Before that, Jedd O’Keeffe’s flat recruit won twice in that code and then won on hurdles debut. He’s been second the next two times and, if he steps up, I fancy him to win. Elysees was only beaten a neck in a grade two behind Quel Destin, who went on to win a grade one, and should run well dropped in grade. Retiring Noel Fehily rides Prabeni for Charlie Mann. The son of Teofilo finished fourteenth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham ten days ago when his jumping wasn’t quite good enough. He has each way claims.
After this, coverage returns to Kelso for the Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase (15:00). Blue Flight looks a completely different horse this year and is on a four timer after beating grade one winner Black Corton in a Listed race. This is a drop in class but he got put up 14lbs for that victory so that puts me off. He’s only six and has a big future. SOME CHAOS won going away over roughly this trip last time. He has been put up 11lbs but looks a progressive type. Lucy Wadham’s stable star Le Reve (which means ‘the dream’) in French) has won his last two: the Surrey National in February under this conditional and the Grand Military Gold Cup. He has won of a mark higher than this before so a three timer could be on the cards.
Next up is the highest rated race of the day – the grade two EBF & TBA Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Series Final (15:15) at Newbury. These mares are searching for coveted black type to enhance their breeding credentials. Fifteen runners go to post with the Jonjo O’Neil trained Annie Mc at the top of the weights. She is owned by the Coral Racing Club and has been made famous by reality TV star Chris Hughes who rides out on the mare some mornings. She will struggle with the weight in this race. Dan Skelton and Bridget Andrews teamed up to win this last year with the Roksana, who went on to win the Mares Hure at Cheltenham, and they have the consistent So Lonely in this. She is probably the second string to Etamine Du Cochet,who has just had a wind op, and will be ridden by Harry Skelton. It took off the hook a while to win but she did so in a maiden last time. She has a good piece of form in behind Queenohearts and Danse Idol so that boosts her credentials. Back in November, Maebh won at Warwick with She Might Bite and Millarville behind yet she is still a 22/1 shot. Since then, she has been well beaten but the trainer had the third at a big price last year. THE WHITE MOUSE is quite lightly raced and has won at both tries at this trip, including beating Oscar Rose last time. Her only defeats came over a trip too short and she should run well here.
The final race is the Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Handicap Hurdle (15:35) at Kelso. One of my ‘20 To Watch Horses’ runs in this race. Rocklander hold so much potential and ran a blinder to be third at the Cheltenham Festival last year but since then he’s ran six times and only finished two of them. He’s so frustrating but hopefully the return to hurdles can rejuvenate him. WORTHY FARM is quite lightly raced and won by a half length last time. He has been put up 7lbs for athat run but Lorcan Williams takes off 5lbs so should go close. It is very interesting to see that James Reveley is riding on this card. He is a very successful jockey in France and partners Seemorelights. The gelding fell when in contention last time out. Captain Drake won his last two and Taxmeifyoucan likes it round here but has been badly out of form.
13:50 Kelso- Kalahari Queen
14:05 Newbury- Classic Ben
14:25 Kelso- Ingleby Hollow
14:40 Newbury- Groveman
15:00 Kelso- Some Chaos
15:15 Newbury- The White Mouse
15:35 Kelso- Worthy Farm