Noel Fehily steered 50/1 shot Eglantine Du Seuil to victory in the Grade 2 National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’’ Hurdle, before announcing he intends to retire in the coming weeks.
Trained by Willie Mullins, who has now won all four renewals of the £90,000 extended two-mile event, following the victories of Limini (2016), Let’s Dance (2017) and Laurina (2018), the five-year-old daughter of Saddler Maker got up on the line to record a short-head success from stable companion Concertista (66/1), who was making her hurdles’ debut, while the Gordon Elliott-trained Tintangle (40/1), under Jack Kennedy, claimed third to ensure an Irish clean-sweep.
Discussing his seventh-ever Cheltenham Festival win, Fehily said:
“I was fairly sure Eglantine Du Seuil’s head was down on the line. I would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t got up as I have come from a very long way back.”
Fehily’s seven Cheltenham Festival winners include Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle victories aboard Rock On Ruby (2012) and Buveur D’Air (2017) and a thrilling win aboard Special Tiara (2017) in the Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The 43-year-old continued: “This is going to be my last Festival as I am getting a bit old for this job – that will be it now. I am not getting any younger and it’s a young man’s game. I’ve been thinking about retiring for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t well for a while and I just thought it was time to let the young lads get on with it.”
It was a 64th Festival winner for Mullins, who said of the first two home:
“They have both run so well. I was watching Danny on Concertista the whole time, and the next thing I saw something coming on the inside and I thought, ‘keep going, Danny’, then thought ‘hopefully it’s one of my own, as I had so many runners in it [seven]. It was a fantastic performance from Noel Fehily – and both horses and riders.”
4.50pm National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
1 Eglantine Du Seuil (Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-02 Noel Fehily 50/1
2 Concertista (Simon Munir & Isaac Souede) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-02 Danny Mullins 66/1
3 Tintangle (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-05 Jack Kennedy 40/1
15/8fav Epatante (9th)
Distances: sh, 1 ¾
Time: 4m 2.74s