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Fehily backs Bon Gold bid

NOEL Fehily is confident a lack of race fitness will not be a problem for Michel Le Bon after riding his Hennessy Gold Cup mount in a schooling session yesterday morning.

With stable jockey Ruby Walsh partnering long-term Hennessy favourite Aiteen Thirtythree and second rider Daryl Jacob heading to Newcastle to partner Celestial Halo in the Stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Paul Nicholls snapped up the services of Fehily for his second major contender for the Newbury showpiece.

Fehily is no stranger to riding for the champion trainer -- most notably guiding Master Minded to victory in last season's rearranged Tingle Creek at Cheltenham -- and he is thrilled to have been given the call again.


Michel Le Bon has been sidelined by injury since winning a Grade Two novice chase at this fixture two years ago, but Fehily feels the eight-year-old is ready to do himself justice.

"I went and had a sit on him this morning and he jumped absolutely fantastic, so I'm really looking forward to it," said Fehily. "It's great to be riding good horses like him, that's what it's all about.

"It's a competitive race as you would expect for a Hennessy, but it's probably not as good a renewal as there has been in some years.

"Paul has had this race in mind for him for a while and has him well tuned. There are always things to worry about in a race like this, but fitness wouldn't be one of them that's for sure."

Aiteen Thirtythree was a highly encouraging second to Somersby on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton and part-owner Andy Stewart is looking forward to his weekend return.

"We were very pleased he was only beaten three lengths by Somersby at Kempton and he wasn't disgraced at Ascot on Saturday," Stewart said.

"He seems to like Newbury, the distance is absolutely fine, and so is the going. I was very impressed with (owner) David Johnson's Great Endeavour at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power. I'll probably be stood next to David at Newbury, so we will see what happens. May the best horse win and they all come back safe and sound."