'Tiara' proves jewel in the crown of Fehily's Kempton four-timer
Noel Fehily took the second day of Kempton's festive fixture by storm as the Cork native booted home the first four winners - headed by the success of Henry de Bromhead's Special Tiara in the featured Desert Orchid Chase.
The front-running raider from Co Waterford enjoyed the decent ground at the Sunbury track as he repeated his success of two years ago. The 8/11 shot made all the running in the hands of the in-form Fehily to complete his 16/1 four-timer, but there was early drama when former Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy unseated Jamie Moore at the second fence.
That left just three in the race and while Savello was always struggling in rear, Sir Valentino put in a strong bid in the straight. However, he was not foot-perfect at the last and that just gave Special Tiara the edge as he landed the spoils by half a length. "It's been a fantastic day. I've ridden some lovely horses and I'm very lucky," reflected Fehily.
"I've had some great days on this fella. I've been placed in Champion Chases on him, I've won a Celebration Chase on him. He's been a very good horse to me. He's older now and is finishing his races off a lot better. He picked up well."
Earlier, Fehily ensured that Nicky Henderson's classy Altior continued his charge to what could be another showdown with the Willie Mullins-trained Min at Cheltenham in March with a superb round of jumping in the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase.
Last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner gave the most polished performance of his three chasing ventures so far, barely touching a twig. Shaking off long-time leader Marracudja three from home, the 1/9 shot measured the final two obstacles perfectly to win by 18 lengths. Henderson is comfortable with his decision to switch Altior to fences instead of charting a course towards the Champion Hurdle.
"It was a big decision (to switch), but at the moment I'm certainly not regretting it," he said. "I think he is a very good horse."
Fehily was also on the mark for Henderson with Charli Parcs (5/4) in the opening juvenile hurdle, while he steered Henry Daly's Nordic Nymph (3/1f) to a two-length win in the mares' handicap hurdle.