Robbie Power hails appointment of Noel Fehily for Our Duke ride

Tue 20 Feb 2018
Our Duke Fhouse 16 Our Duke got back to winning ways at Gowran Park (PA)

By staff

Robbie Power believes Noel Fehily is the perfect choice to partner Our Duke in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Power has ridden the Jessica Harrington-trained eight-year-old on each of his 10 starts over jumps to date, most recently steering him to a narrow success over Presenting Percy in last Saturday's Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

However, with Power having chosen to ride last year's Gold Cup hero Sizing John in the blue riband on March 16, his stablemate required a new jockey and Harrington moved swiftly to snap up Fehily's services.

Speaking in his Boylesports blog, Power said: "I'll be riding Sizing John on the Friday of the Festival. It was always going to be a tough decision but it would have been extremely difficult to desert the reigning champion and I still believe it will take a very good horse to beat him.

"Jessie couldn't have got a better man than Noel Fehily to replace me on Our Duke - he's a top-class jockey."

Our Duke was a brilliant winner of the Irish Grand National on his final outing of last season, but flopped on his comeback run at Down Royal in November.

A back problem was subsequently discovered and rectified and after shaping with more encouragement to finish fourth in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown earlier this month, connections were thrilled to see him rediscover the winning trail last weekend.

Power added: "Our Duke was very impressive as he got back to winning ways on Saturday where he had to give 7lb to a very good horse in Presenting Percy and he did it very well.

"I don't think he's back to his best yet, but it was the best he's felt since Fairyhouse last year and I think he will improve."

Sizing John is a best-priced 7-1 to retain his crown with Ladbrokes. They make Our Duke slightly shorter at 13-2, but Betfair offer the latter at 9-1.

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