Talk to any jump jockey about injuries and they can provide enough stories to keep an orthopaedic surgeons' convention excited for a fortnight.

"I've had my few along the way," Noel Fehily said with the finger pressed firmly on the button marked understatement. "I had a few years of really bad luck."

Breezing over the minor scrapes, there was six months out with injuries to both shoulders and another six after breaking a leg. But it was the wrist injury that kept him on the sidelines for nine months which brought the most pain.

"When I did my wrist I wasn't in a great place" Fehily said quietly. "But once you start rehabilitation, all you want to do is get back on a horse. What date can you get back by?"

The problem for him was the date that he missed: Boxing Day 2010.

Fehily appeared to be the right man in the right place at just the right time. Ruby Walsh was himself on the injured list and Fehily had moved to the top of the list of replacements for the Paul Nicholls yard, which meant the ride on Kauto Star in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

Now the man who was born on Christmas Eve was ready to receive the gift coveted by the rest of the weighing room. "He was the best chaser we've seen for a long time and I was lucky enough to school him a few times and was all set to go and then I got the wrist injury."

Fehily dislocated his left wrist at Newbury in late November but remarkably returned a fortnight later to ride at Cheltenham.

"The wrist had gone back in place and the surgeon said he'd never seen one go back in so well. I just needed a bit of luck on my side," he said.

Those with a pain threshold that resides closer to normal might have needed more, like a bucketful of tablets, but Fehily carried on until he rode at Kempton just a week before the big race. It was during a cold-weather spell when jump racing was replaced by all-weather bumpers and it was the moment that Fehily knew a replacement was needed for the Kauto Star ride.

"I wasn't in any great pain but I had a couple of falls and the wrist had been getting worse. I felt I got beaten on one at Kempton because of it. I called Paul the following morning - I didn't get much sleep the night before but that was from the pain in my wrist rather than making the call."

Being a man who had spent years grafting before receiving the recognition his talents deserved, Fehily, 39, just kept plugging away, with a victory on Rock On Ruby in the 2012 Champion Hurdle a potent reminder of what he could do given the chance.

Then in November last year, the call came saying Nicholls needed a jockey for Silviniaco Conti, whom Fehily had previously ridden to two wins over hurdles, in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.

The pair finished only third but Fehily kept the ride for the King George when they appeared set for no better than second until Cue Card faltered on the run to the last fence. Fehily had already seen his cue and pushed Silviniaco on to win.

"I jumped the third-last a bit slow and thought he might have got away, but once my fella got motoring, I knew going to the second-last I would reel Cue Card in because Conti stays really well."

Payback for missing out on Kauto Star was there for the taking but Fehily knew he had to keep his head if he wanted the winner's pay cheque.

"You just have to ride to get over the last as if it's any other race. When I went past the post, then I gave it the full monty."

There was no repeat of the whip-waving celebrations following the Cheltenham Gold Cup, after which severe ulcers were diagnosed as the likely reason for Silviniaco Conti leading over the last but fading into fourth.

He put the likes of Menorah, Dynaste and Cue Card in their place once more with a second Betfair Chase victory last month but Fehily can see why he may lack the sparkling appeal of Kauto Star.

"He's not flashy and he's no oil painting but he's very tough and gutsy. When it comes to a battle you know he'll dig deep for you. But he's got speed as well - he can travel well in a race - that touch of class."

The class of 2014 might not have a standout competitor but Fehily knows it will be the one who stands up to be counted that will be the winner on Boxing Day.

The cast for this year's renewal includes several old favourites but is given added by spice of a newcomer. Willie Mullins is planning to send Champagne Fever, one of last season's leading two-mile novices, over from Ireland for his first run at three miles since winning a point-to-point at Quakerstown three years ago.

Mullins admitted last week that "we are biting off a lot going to the King George".

Champagne Fever looked the part when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase last month over two-and-a-half miles but time and again Kempton has proven to be a deceptive trap.

Flat as a pancake and sharp as Noel Coward's wit, the speed merchants have turned up but have found themselves turned away by that final, stamina-sapping mile. Fehily knows his horse will relish that and has already proven he can handle most of the opposition.

"I thought Menorah ran very well behind Conti at Haydock and Dynaste wasn't far behind," Fehily said.

"I know Cue Card flopped in that race but you still have to respect him on his best form. Champagne Fever is a big runner - he won well at Clonmel and he's the possible improver and you can see why he's the second favourite."

Fehily can see why Silviniaco Conti is favourite but will not be getting too excited. Unless he is first past the post.