After heroic winner, emotional Noel Fehily bows out out a legend of horse racing
If you were ever to pick a jockey for a tight finish, you'd be all over Noel Fehily.
For the last 20 years, the Cork man has been getting the most out of every horse he's ridden. A powerful, gritty pilot, he was always a powerhouse in the closing stages of a race and if your horse was good enough to win, Fehily would have you up there.
Thursday in Cheltenham and Fehily was doing what he does best.
The 43-year-old was back in the winners enclosure in Cheltenham again having ground it out up the home straight on Willie Mullins' Eglantile Du Seuil but after the race, he had an announcement to make that would shake horse racing followers far and wide.
The Rebel shared his intention to retire in an emotional interview with Racing TV.
"I wasn't well for a while earlier in the year and I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. It's time to let the young lads get on with it," he said.
"This will definitely be my last Festival and I was hoping for a winner so I'd be able to announce it.
"I'm delighted to be able to go out on a winner, especially for Jared (Sullivan, owner) who has been so good to me."
Cork's Noel Fehily has decided to hang up the whip at the end of this season.
He bows out a legend of horse racing. 👏pic.twitter.com/unzS5kEkym
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 14, 2019
Watch Fehily at the peak of his powers in that race here.
Analysis: In the scarlet colours, Noel Fehily seemed to have too much to do on Eglantine Du Seuil, and it was a stunning jumps debut from Concertina the runner-up too
Check the RacingTV site for more
Results ➡️ https://t.co/XTd1cxQumW pic.twitter.com/avssTEkpYX
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 14, 2019
Jonjo O'Neill, Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson were among the legendary trainers who entrusted him with their finest thoroughbreds and it was rare that he let them down.
He was probably best known for his partnership with Nicholls' Sylviniaco Conti, over whom he won two King George chases in two years. His finest hour, however, arguably came in 2017 when he steered Buveur D'Air to glory in the 2017 Champion Hurdle before following it up the next day with a Queen Mother Champion Chase win aboard Special Tiara.