By Jon Lees
Noel Fehily, who brought the curtain down on an illustrious riding career in March, is set to return to the racetrack on Thursday at the start of a venture into racehorse ownership.
He has launched the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate which is poised to have its first runner, the Fergal O’Brien-trained Pride Of Lecale, who is engaged in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen.
Fehily, 43, announced his retirement at last season’s Cheltenham Festival immediately after winning the Dawn Run Novices’ Hurdle on Eglantine Du Soleil.
It was his seventh Festival success in a 20 year career in which he amassed more than 1,300 wins, including two Champion Hurdles, two King George VI Chases and a Champion Chase.
Much of Fehily’s time since he rode in his last race at Newbury in March is occupied supervising the mares he keeps and breeds from at his home near Swindon, while he still rides out for trainer Harry Fry.
Pride Of Lecale, previously owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, is one of two horses in which 10 shares have been sold to make the start of a separate business which Fehily has established up with the involvement of jockey Dave Crosse.
“I thought it would be a bit of fun and a way to try to bring more people into racing and get them involved,” said Fehily.
“It’s a good way for people who might not want to go it alone in a horse to have a leg on their own or with some of their friends. Dave is involved with me.
“We started with a horse called The Grey Scholar who is an English point-to-point winner. He is with Mark Bradstock so hopefully he will go down the novice hurdle route. He was an impressive winner of his point-to-point.
“Pride Of Lecale is entered on Thursday at Market Rasen. Fergal’s horses couldn’t be in better form and they are running really well. I hope he will run well.
“He was a good bumper horse and then he ran a few times last year over hurdles when he probably wanted soft ground which he didn’t really get much of. He has a handicap mark and is ready to go so that is why we took a chance on him.
“There are 10 people in the two horses and then we got a couple more at Newmarket last week for a single horse syndicate, a four-year-old called Trailboss, who is going to Charlie Mann, and a three-year-old called Isolate who will be trained by Alan King.”
Fehily added: “We are not going in at a very high level but at the same time I’d like to think there is a bit of quality there and hopefully we will get a few winners.”
He is not missing riding. “Of course around the big meetings you always think you’d like to be still involved but I don’t miss the day to day grind of driving up and down the country.
“We have a lot of horses to deal with at home and I ride a bit of work with Harry Fry.”
Fehily rode his final winner on the Fry-trained Get In the Queue in the Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper. The trainer has entered a horse named after the jockey, Fehily, in the 2020 renewal of the same race.
“I thought something like that only happened when you were dead!” he said.
“I did have to give permission. They tell me he is a nice horse so time will tell. He has a lot to live up to!”