Noel Fehily lays out plan to retire 'in coming weeks' after festival victory
An emotional Noel Fehily has announced he plans to retire from the saddle in the coming weeks after a career lasting more that 20 years.
50-1 shot Eglantine Du Seuil just denied 66-1 stablemate Concertista in a photo-finish to continue trainer Willie Mullins' stranglehold on the Mares' Novices' Hurdle with a fourth straight victory under a patient ride.
"This will be my last festival. I've enjoyed every minute of riding horses and I'm going to miss it," Fehily said, wiping away tears.
"It's going to be tough walking away. I've loved doing it but it's a great way to bow out. To ride a winner for Jared Sullivan is very important for me. He's been a great supporter and it's great to do it for him.
"I have to speak to my other trainers and I've commitments for the next couple of weeks, so we'll go from there."
Asked if he would be riding at the Grand National meeting, he added: "We'll see how it goes, I haven't spoken to anybody, but it'll be in the next couple of weeks."
Fehily has just come back from time on the sidelines after having his appendix removed and, explaining the decision to retire, he said: "I spoke to my agent Chris Broad, my wife and kids about it a couple of weeks ago – you can't go on for ever.
"I thought if I got a festival winner I'd announce it. I'll carry on for the time being but this will be my last festival. I'm 43, which is too old to be in this game."
Eglantine Du Seuil, who was having her first run since September, represented the same connections of Mullins and owner Jared Sullivan who were successful in the race with Laurina last year.
Fehily said of the winner: "Her form behind Triplicate and Aramon certainly looks better now and she must be pretty good.
"A fast-run two miles suits her but she'll probably get further in time. She was quite keen but her heart is as big as she is. I'm really happy for Jared Sullivan."
What they said
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Silviniaco Conti and Rock On Ruby
He's probably made a wise decision. He's been a brilliant jockey and ridden lots of winners for lots of people. Everyone will wish him well but I think it'll be more appropriate to say a lot more when he actually retires.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Eglantine Du Seuil
It's great to see him going out on such a high. I've not watched the re-run yet but I think there was only one or two behind them at the top of the hill and I said to him 'she's not the fastest in the world so try and get her jumping' and that's exactly what he did. He wove his way through and I was so busy watching Danny I didn't realise it was one of my own. It was a fantastic performance from Noel Fehily, it was very special.
Harry Fry, trainer of Rock On Ruby and Unowhatimeanharry
He's a brilliant jockey and a brilliant person. I'm absolutely delighted for him to get another festival winner and announce his retirement on the biggest stage of all. He's been a huge part in my early career and will leave a huge hole - not just for us but in the weighing room and the sport. He's been a doyen of the sport and I'm thrilled for him, he's had a really tough month with appendicitis and it's greeat to see him back riding a winner here.
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