Noel Fehily riding Optimus Prime

Noel Fehily Interview 

Exclusive interview with Noel Fehily: Cheltenham Festival tickets should be more expensive not cheaper, Irish Festival success won’t last forever and success is cyclical – just look at Man United

Exclusive interview with Noel Fehily: Cheltenham Festival tickets should be more expensive not cheaper, Irish Festival success won’t last forever and success is cyclical – just look at Man United

Six-time Cheltenham Festival winner Noel Fehily was speaking to DAZN Bet ahead of the Festival getting underway next Tuesday.

Fehily covered a range of issues, with some controversial views on how to improve fan experiences at the racecourse. He also addressed the current Irish dominance in the sport, comparing the likes of Willie Mullins to Manchester United’s successes of the past.

The Cost of Quality: Exploring Cheltenham Festival’s Ticket Pricing Debate

Six-time Cheltenham Festival winner Noel Fehily delves into the controversial subject of ticket pricing for the prestigious event, discussing the balance between affordability and comfort for attendees.

DAZN Bet: What do you think of the ticket sales this year, are the prices too high?

Noel Fehily: “I think that the tickets should be more expensive.

“When I’ve been there the past couple of years, it was overcrowded I thought for a couple of days. I thought it was bordering on uncomfortable, never mind £115, it should be £215, it might keep a few of them at home!

“I thought the past couple of years, it was bordering on being overcrowded, and that would be my biggest problem with the Festival at the moment.

“They said tickets had been hard to sell last year and you couldn’t stand! It was like a cattle market in some of the bars – to me, it was uncomfortable.”

“It’s the Cheltenham Festival, it’s the Olympics of our sport – everyone wants to go there, and I think that if you go to any big event, in terms of price it’s not too different to any other sport.”

The Debate Over Race Selection at Cheltenham Festival

Noel Fehily shares his experienced perspective on the Cheltenham Festival’s race lineup, offering insights into which events enhance the sport and which could potentially be phased out for a better experience.

DZBT: Is there a race which you would get rid of during Cheltenham?

Noel Fehily: “I definitely don’t think we should be getting rid of the Mares’ races – I think they have their place and, from a breeders point of view, it has increased the value of fillies.

“A few years ago, when you had a filly foal it was worth nothing. Now, at least the fillies are worth something as they’re being raced and having to prove themselves.

“I think it’s improving the breed, so I think that the Mares’ races should definitely stay.

“Maybe the two-and-a-half mile novice chases should go, or a race like the Cross Country – despite the fact that it’s a spectacle.

“Four days of racing is perfect, and I wouldn’t want to see it go up to five.”

Irish Supremacy and the Future of Horse Racing: Insights from Noel Fehily

In a detailed analysis, Noel Fehily reflects on the current state of horse racing, the rise of Irish dominance, and how the sport’s cyclical nature affects competitive balances.

DZBT: What is the secret to selling the sport?

Noel Fehily: “I think that it should be more of a family day out at Cheltenham, I think that it probably should be advertised more the fact that children go free.

“Most people outside of racing don’t know that children go free, and I think that’s probably the best way of selling the sport.”

DZBT: Are syndicates the way forward?

Noel Fehily: “The syndicates are working well, and we find that a lot of people come into the syndicates for the first time. It’s a good way of getting people into racing, some of the people who have got involved with us for the first time have gone on to own horses on their own.

“It can’t be a bad thing. They love seeing what goes on behind the scenes with the trainers’ yard in the morning, seeing the horse working and seeing what goes on behind the scenes with the trainer, the schooling.

“They probably enjoy that side of things more than the days’ racing, so I think that’s very important for new owners.”

DZBT: What do you think that Willie Mullins’ and other Irish trainers’ defining qualities are for success?

Noel Fehily: “Willie is very good at being patient with horses.

“Everyone has access to buying horses on the open market, but I think that Irish trainers probably have better information on the horses; because a lot of the amateurs in the Wilie Mullins yard may ride out for the point-to-points on Sundays.

“This means that they might know about these horses well in advance, so they probably have an advantage on that side of things.

“It’s still an open market though, and we can all buy them if we have enough money.”

DZBT:Is the Irish dominance going to last?

Noel Fehily: “Everything in sport swings back and at some stage it will swing back in favour of the British.

“I remember when the Irish came to Cheltenham and would be delighted to get just one or two winners, because they couldn’t compete with the English.

“I’m sure it will turn again at some stage, and the Irish are very dominant at the moment.

“Nothing in sport stays the same forever, Man United were very dominant for a long time but they’re not any more…”