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Fehily: Galopin Des Champs is the one to beat in the Gold Cup

March 9th, 2024 3:00 PM

By Sean Holland

Fehily: Galopin Des Champs is the one to beat in the Gold Cup Image
Coppeen jockey Noel Fehily celebrates after Summerville Boy won the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

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Six-time Cheltenham winner Noel Fehily shares some of his tips for the festival


FROM the saddle to the parade ring to the owner’s box, Coppeen’s Noel Fehily has lived and breathed the Cheltenham Festival from every angle. He saw down with The Southern Star to shares his tips and fancies for the prestigious festival. Fehily's intimate knowledge promises invaluable insights into the contenders for some of the festival's biggest races.

Noel Fehily onboard Buveur D'Air celebrates winning at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.


(Note: as the entries are not confirmed until two days prior, some horses listed below may run in a different race)

Supreme Novices Hurdle (Tuesday, 1.30pm): ‘Whatever Paul Townend rides would be the fancy here. Willie Mullins’ horse Ballyburn looks very good but there’s a question over what race he will choose. If Townend is on Ballyburn, he'll be very hard to beat. Next up would be Tullyhill but it’s a case of whose Townend riding. That's the way I'll be looking at that one.'

Champion Hurdle (Tuesday, 3.30pm): ‘It looked very unlikely the hot favourite Constitution Hill would run from a few weeks out. That bit of work that came out looked desperate for what should be an ordinary piece of work; it didn't look very good. You can't win the Champion Hurdle off the back of bad preparation. Now with Constitution Hill out, State Man is a massive player.'

Mares Hurdle (Tuesday, 4.10pm): Fehily has his own connections in this race, as Love Envoi is part of his syndicate group. He said: ‘We obviously ran a mighty race last year, just to be beaten by Honeysuckle. And this year we're going into an even tougher race. Willie's mare that beat her the last day at Cheltenham, Lossiemouth, she looked awesome. She's probably going to be very, very hard to beat. Also, Ashroe Diamond, looked very good at Doncaster. That’s another one that will be very hard to beat. It's a tough race, but we'll go there and give it another good shot again.'

Champion Chase (Wednesday, 3.30pm): 'El Fabiolo has looked awesome; he'll be very, very hard to beat. I don't think Jonbon was good enough the last day – that's probably a big negative for him going into it. I would always have El Fabiolo over Jonbon anyway. The horse, I think, could run a big race if they ride him like they rode him at Newbury the last day is Edwardstone. It's the first time they let him ride out and jump out in front. He's been crying out to do it for a long time. If they ride him like that again, he could take a bit of catching. He's the one who's most likely to finish second or maybe upset El Fabiolo. But I'd love to see him do what he did at Newbury, pop out in front, and go for a good gallop.'

Cross Country Chase (Wednesday, 4.10pm): 'All the big players are all ex-Gold Cup horses, aren't they? I was actually in Henry De Bromhead’s yard last week and they are very keen on Minella Indo. He was very good when he ran around the Gold Cup and fancies those types of big races. He is a very good horse, and if he could run something like he has in those previous races, he's going to take a bit of beating.’

Ryanair Chase (Thursday, 2.50pm): 'I know Patrick Mullins mentioned him as well but Appreciate It could go well here. He ran over three miles at Christmas and now he’s dropped back to two and a half. He won the Supreme a couple of years ago. Envoi Allen won this race last year and should be close but Appreciate It is a good each-way shout.'

Stayers Hurdle (Thursday, 3.30pm): ‘Teahupoo is a horse I’ve always liked, but he looks good and then goes missing a little bit, and then looks good again, and goes missing again. But maybe the fact that Gordon (Elliot) has trained him differently this year and kept him fresh will help. He was very good in his only start this year before Christmas, and maybe going to Cheltenham fresh will suit him. You could see him going well. The horse I hope will win is Crambo for Fergal O'Brien, as I bred him. He was very good in the long walk at Ascot before Christmas. He's the best of the English.’

Triumph Hurdle (Friday, 1.30pm): 'Sir Gino would be my NAP here and for the whole week. I thought he was very good at Cheltenham the last day. He looks a monster of a four-year-old. I don't think the Irish juveniles are that good. I don't think there’s a standout one, but Sir Gino is the real deal. He's my NAP of the meeting.'

County Handicap Hurdle (Friday, 2.10pm): 'I’ve my own horse in this with Handsard. He won in Newbury before Christmas. He's off a good mark. The last thing he wants is a messy race, a little bit of a stop-start race. He likes a fast-run race. They're sure to go flat out in front of him. I wouldn't put anybody off having a fiver each-way on him.'

Gold Cup (Friday, 3.30pm): 'Galopin Des Champs looks the best around. If I owned Fastorslow, I'd be running him in the Ryanair; he'd probably win it. He probably won't beat Galopin Des Champs. The other horse that's probably too big a price is the Paul Nicholls Horse Bravemansgame. He was second in the Gold Cup last year and second in the King George. He’s been kept fresh for this race and I could see him going very well again but Galopin Des Champs is the one to beat.'

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