Noel Fehily
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Noel Fehily discusses Ayr and the Scottish Grand National

| 12.04.2019

I am back at home this weekend looking after the horses we have on the premises after three days away at Aintree for the Grand National festival.

Being at Aintree as a spectator rather than a participating jockey was certainly a bit different from what I have been used to.

It was obviously not as exciting as if I was riding, but it was okay. I still managed to get into the winners’ enclosure with If The Cap Fits who ran a mighty race to win the Stayers’ Hurdle last Saturday.

It was good to see him do that because when I was riding him I always thought he was a good horse. He just probably hadn’t shown what I thought he should have been showing all along.

It was probably the change of jockey that made the difference! Of course I would have loved to have been on him but he was probably the only one.

I have had a bit of a look at the card at Ayr and there are a number of fiercely competitive races. Nevertheless I will try to pick out some recommendations.

The meeting starts with a 2m Listed handicap chase. Magic Saint (1.25) was good at Wincanton and Azzurri will be well fancied as well.

But I was impressed with Magic Saint’s last win before he disappointed at Cheltenham. I thought it was a very good performance to beat Gino Trail. This is a competitive enough race but if he reproduces his Wincanton run he could win this.

The novices handicap chase is fairly open. Kilfilum Cross has been doing nothing wrong. He won well at Ludlow and was a good second in the Kim Muir so looks like a horse that is improving.

But I like Harry Fry’s horse Onefortheroadtom (1.55). I think he is very well handicapped. I was a bit disappointed with him the last day over two and a half miles and I am hoping up in trip we will see a bit more of him.

He was rated 137 over hurdles, he is a point-to-point winner and has always looked more of a chaser than hurdler. Off 124 he would be well in on his hurdles form.

I won on him at Exeter one day and he beat Lalor and Kilbricken Storm in a novice hurdle. He is better than a 124 horse and sooner or later he is going to put in a big run.

The Scottish Champion Hurdle is a very open race with a lot of decent horses in it. I expect Nube Negra will be favourite.

With the ground set to be quick that would suit Verdana Blue, who is getting 7lb taken off with Conor Brace riding. But I prefer one of Nicky Henderson’s other runners Mister Fisher (2.25).

I think he is a very nice horse. He was very impressive at Haydock and probably disappointed a bit in the Supreme on slow ground. He looks like he wants better ground and he could be nicely handicapped.

I presume Nico de Boinville could have ridden Verdana Blue or Brain Power and back on good ground I think we will see the best of Mister Fisher.

The Future Champion Chase looks a tricky contest. Secret Investor has been disappointing for me and he looks like he wants three miles more than two and a half.

Alan King’s horses are in great form and Ballywood (3.00) won at Ludlow last time and he is a horse that might be open to more improvement. He will like the ground too so I am going with him.

The Coral Scottish Grand National features a horse I know well in Carole’s Destrier who has been running really well this season. He wouldn’t be too badly handicapped on his last run at Newbury and will like the trip.

I am all over Dingo Dollar (3.35). He has the right credentials, Alan King has won the race before and the horse likes good ground. He has been used to running in competitive handicaps.

He ran well in the Ladbrokes Trophy, ran well around Doncaster, a quick track.

You need a horse used to hustle and bustle as it can be a rough enough run race. Everybody likes to be handy and he is one that shouldn’t be bothered by it.




Noel Fehily

Noel Fehily is one of the finest jump jockeys in the business. Winner of the famed King George VI and a two-time victor of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Noel will be bringing you his thoughts in the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival exclusively on Ladbrokes.