Silviniaco Conti, weighing room anecdotes and 1,300-plus wins: jockey Noel Fehily reflects on career after retirement

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  • Following an illustrious career as a National Hunt jockey, Noel Fehily bowed out with a winner at Newbury on Saturday, 23 March, riding the Harry Fry-trained Get In The Queue in the bumper.

    During a recent interview, courtesy of Great British Racing, Noel revealed that he aptly decided to have his final ride at the Berkshire track because it is his favourite racecourse.

    The 43-year-old Irishman, who runs a small stud at his base in the Wiltshire-village of Semington, also spoke of his fond memories of riding the former Paul Nicholls-trained star Silviniaco Conti, plus his fun anecdotes from the weighing room.

    Despite his love of Newbury Racecourse, Noel said his biggest memory of riding at the track was actually a negative one.

    “I was absolutely gutted about losing in the Hennessy Gold Cup [now the Ladbrokes Trophy]. But I have had some good days at Newbury — I love the track,” he said.

    Noel’s stellar career saw him claim over an outstanding 1,300 wins, including seven Cheltenham Festival victories. He has also had success in famous races including the King George VI, the Tingle Creek, the Betfair Ascot Chase and two successive Bowl Chase victories at Aintree aboard Silviniaco Conti.

    His best season in the Stobart-sponsored jump jockeys’ championship was the 2013/14 campaign, when he secured 127 wins — this remains his highest tally during his career. He also surpassed the 100-winner landmark in a season an impressive four times.

    Noel’s first victory in the saddle was over 20 years ago. “It was Ivy Boy at Plumpton in October 1998. It was fantastic — I think it was only my fourth or fifth ride in the country and it was a great day,” he added.

    The jockey made an emotional announcement on his plans to retire following victory at the Cheltenham Festival aboard 50/1 shot Eglantine Du Seuil.

    He summed up what he will miss the most from his career as a jockey, including the camaraderie in the weighing room and his funniest anecdotes. “Matty Batchelor [jockey] was a prankster,” he reflected. “He once cut the toes off Daryl Jacob’s socks, so they came up to his knees. Daryl didn’t see the funny side of that for a while.”

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