It was all change last weekend at Emma Lavelle’s Cottage Stables in the village of Hatherden near Andover when Noel Fehily replaced Jack Doyle as stable jockey. The move was something of a surprise as Fehily has filled that position for Charlie Mann for the last 14 years.
Lavelle was delighted to welcome a new stable jockey on board. She said on her website, "Noel is an outstanding jockey who has ridden to the highest standard for a good few years now, and we are extremely fortunate to have him join the team. It will be a new chapter for Jack who has been successful jockey for us over the years and we wish him all the best in the future."
The two have occasionally partnered up before, and Fehily has ridden 12 winners from 57 mounts for Lavelle over the last five years.
Charlie Mann is hopeful that Fehily will continue to ride for him on a regular basis. He said, "Noel has an arrangement with Emma as well as me and he will ride where he wants to ride. It's a sensible move as Emma has a few more horses than me but it's a bit of a job share. Although we have been together 14 years I want what's best for Noel and this looks the best option."
In the first week of the new arrangement Mann seemed to be getting the better of things, with Fehily riding three placed for horses for him, whilst the first two Lavelle horses he rode were unplaced. But yesterday Fehily brought 25/1 shot African Eagle home in third place for his new yard in Lingfield's novice chase.
They'll be looking for their first winner today at Sandown, where both Claret Cloak and Le Bec look to hold reasonable chances.
There was no indication of dissatisfaction from Lavelle with Doyle's riding which has seen 73 successes together over the last five years. Naturally he was disappointed at losing the security of a stable job, but Doyle was clear that he was not disillusioned with the sport. He said, "I haven't got any plans yet. I'm just going to try to ride out for as many people as I can, attempt to get a few new contacts, and work hard and hopefully get going again. The important thing is to keep my head up. I'm only young (22) and have plenty of confidence in my ability and, as we all know, when one door closes another one often open somewhere else."