Noel Fehily encouraged by Lion’s Aintree hopes


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Noel Fehily is hoping he can continue his rich vein of form by partnering Blaklion to success in the Grand National on April 8.

The Irishman enjoyed a stunning Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, steering Buveur D’Air to Champion Hurdle success for trainer Nicky Henderson before also producing a fine front-running display to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the Henry De Bromhead-trained Special Tiara.

Now he has received the call from Nigel Twiston-Davies to take the seat on Blaklion at Aintree with the Naunton handler unable to jock up either of his sons, Willy (injured) and Sam (riding Saphir De Rheu for boss Paul Nicholls).

Blaklion hasn’t won since last year’s Cheltenham Festival, where he landed the RSA Chase over three-miles.

He’s been running with credit this term however, most recently chasing home Grand National favourite Vieux Lion Rouge in the Haydock National Trial.

He was giving the winner 6lb on that occasion and Fehily feels it was a performance that offers plenty encouragement looking towards Aintree.

“It’s a great ride to pick up, I watched the race at Haydock – he jumped very neat and he’s got a bit of class as well,” he told Racing UK. “Hopefully he’ll be a good ride.”

Fehily has never won the Grand National before, though trainer Twiston-Davies knows all about saddling a winner of the big race having sent out Earth Summit to succeed in 1998 and Bindaree four years later.

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