Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 25th 2015 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, December 25, 2015
Noel Fehily is hoping to cap his 40th birthday
on Christmas Eve with three riding gifts over
the Festive period.
Firstly, the jump jockey is in the enviable position
of attempting to win the William Hill King George
VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day for the third
year running on Silviniaco Conti.
He has also been handed extra presents of rides
on The New One in the williamhill.com Christmas
Hurdle on the same card and on ante-post favourite
Upswing in the Coral Welsh Grand National at
Chepstow on Sunday, although that meeting is
subject to a precautionary inspection on Boxing
"I have some nice rides over Christmas," he
Though the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco
Conti is the proven one in the King George, he is
not the horse people are focusing on with Don
Cossack, Vautour and Cue Card the ones attracting
However, Fehily believes Silviniaco Conti s course
record should not be overlooked.
"I suppose he is the forgotten horse a little bit,
but it is a very good race and there are some young
horses coming up who have done nothing wrong
either," he said. "I hope he can show what he can
do around Kempton.
"He ran one bad race first time out at Wetherby
(last year), but came out and won the Betfair next
time. Sometimes he needs his first run and he
didn t badly at Haydock (when second to Cue
"If he comes on for that run, which we think
he has, he s in with a fighting chance again."
Fehily has been booked for Nigel Twiston-Davies
The New One as the trainer s son Sam, who has
ridden the seven-year-old in all his 21 previous
races, has opted for Old Guard for Nicholls.
"It s a nice ride to pick up," said Fehily. "Faugheen
looks the one to beat, but we ll give it a go and
The New One is a very good horse in his own
"He s won around Kempton a few times and
been second in a Christmas Hurdle, so we ll give
it a bash."
Fehily s Christmas would be complete should
he be successful on Upswing in the valuable staying
handicap chase in Wales on Sunday.
He has been snapped up trainer Jonjo O Neill
as Barry Geraghty, retained jockey for owner JP
McManus, is needed in Ireland for Leopardstown s
"He s a nice ride to pick up as well," said Fehi-
"I just hope this rain stops. It s been raining
pretty heavy. If we get too much more the meeting
must be in doubt, but he s a great ride to pick up.
"Jonjo s very good with his staying chasers. He s
won all the Nationals."
Former William Hill King George VI
Chase-winning rider Norman
Williamson believes Smad Place could
be the answer to this year s quality
renewal on Boxing Day.
The retired Irish-born jockey took the
Kempton showpiece in 1998 on the Vene-
tia Williams-trained Teeton Mill, who
was the last grey to land the prize.
Williamson is in a good position to
assess the prospects of Alan King s Smad
Place as there are obvious similarities
between the two horses.
Not only are the pair greys and good
jumpers, but both won the Hennessy Gold
Cup at Newbury before heading for
"It looks like Smad Place is improving.
He was very impressive in the Hennessy
and probably not unlike Teeton Mill as
his jumping was electric," said
"He was fantastic and even though
Kempton is a very flat track and tighter
than Newbury, you need to jump because
the fences come up thick and fast.
"I think it s a very good King George.
There a few good ones in there, but from
what he did at Newbury he will take a
lot of beating.
"Don Cossack has done everything
right and looks the one to beat, but I
think the way Smad Place is ridden and
the way he jumps it s going to take a good
one to go by him up the straight. He ll
probably turn it into a test of stamina."
Adrian Maguire gave Willie Mullins his
sole success in the race to date with Flori-
da Pearl in 2001 and the retired jockey,
who now trains at Mallow in County
Cork, would choose his number one hope
Vautour given the chance.
"It s a small field, but it s a good race
and I d say there ll be plenty of pace on,"
"Don Cossack is an outstanding horse
and is the highest-rated, but I think it s
a great opportunity for Vautour to shine
even brighter. I don t see the course being
a problem for him.
"The one for me, if I had the pick of
any of them, would be Vautour. I think
he s the unknown quantity.
"I hope there is a good gallop on as it
would help him relax. For me he has more
boot than any of them and if the ground
is not too soft that would work to his
advantage as well.
"There are a few of them that like to
be handy or make it and that could just
set it up for the likes of Don Cossack and
Vautour. They d be taking their time a
bit, I d say."
Don Cossack has any amount in hand
for the eagerly-awaited £250000 King
George VI Chase over three miles of soft
Kempton tomorrow; last year Silviniaco
Conti won this highly-prestigious Xmas
feature for a second time and is one of
nine others declared.
Paul Nicholls charge achieved a time-
handicap mark that is 10 lbs short of that
recorded by Don Cossack when routing
opposition under Tony McCoy by 26 lengths.
There is every reason to believe this Gor-
don Elliott-trained Sholokhov gelding is a
special and destined for a follow-up Chel-
tenham Gold Cup success next March.
Currently the double would pay 20/1,
food for thought, eh?
In the early sixties another Irish-
bred/trained gelding dominated the long
distance steeplechasing scene, Arkle was
indeed the greatest thoroughbred we ve ever
seen on the National Hunt scene.
It was never possible get odds-against,
even when himself carried 12st 7 lbs in major
Don Cossack will be backable; support
is bound to come for Cue Card (second in
the aforementioned Liverpool race!), Alan
King has confirmed unchallenged Hennessy
hero, Smad Place, and, of course, Vautour
is reckoned the business by Willie Mullins,
but will he stay?
There are questions to be asked (and
answered!) before taking on Don Cossack;
all are negative, according to form and the
TH, and he represents a confident selec-
Is there One capable of inflicting another
defeat to 2015 Champion Hurdle winner
Faugheen in the Christmas Hurdle?
Nigel Twiston-Davies has deliberately
exercised a patient, streamlined, policy with
The New One, arguably the best he s ever
trained but a disappointment last season.
Expectation was high for the King s The-
atre gelding but he trailed Faugheen eight
lengths last March. In October he returned
to the fray and scored comfortably over this
course and distance.
Nigel is a realist but confident the New
One is in tremendous shape. Faugheen, sur-
prisingly, lost an unbeaten record on his
debut last month and the machine is there-
fore vulnerable, let s hope our selection is
up to the task.
Don Cossack for King George
Gift horse for
Noel Fehily in winning action on Silviniaco Conti.
Top jocks say Smad Place, Vantour
10.35 CANFORD CROSSING
10.45 THE NEW ONE
11.10 DON COSSACK
Smad Place...favoured to
win King George
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