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Newmarket vet raises concerns surrounding mask wearing in yards

Trainers have been reminded of their responsibilities regarding coronavirus protocols at their yards following claims from a leading vet that standards were slipping.

Peter Ramzan, a partner at Rossdales Veterinary Surgery in Newmarket, said he believed complacency is setting in when it comes to mask wearing and social distancing – something which has been denied by trainers in the town.

Ramzan told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “My exposure is to Newmarket yards. To date, thankfully, Newmarket has been a fairly healthy little bubble and it’s a fairly small community.

“It’s a fairly bad look for racing in general when one drives into Newmarket yards, masks are pretty thin on the ground, there are very few people wearing them.

A masked groom and his charge at Nottingham races last summer
A masked groom and his charge at Nottingham races last summer (Tim Goode/PA)

“It’s very nuanced and all the baggage that goes with working with a tight group of people, working outdoors, doing a physical job and moving in and out, I get all of that, but it is simply the case that until now a lot of racing staff had been mixing and feeling fairly confident, which builds up a degree of feeling that you are immune.

“Staff are in tack rooms, offices, feed rooms without masks, as well as congregating in the yards with limited social distancing.

“Cases are really going up and we hear on the grapevine of cases here (Newmarket) and at the end of the day it’s a respiratory virus, so it’s a sensible thing to wear a mask.

“I don’t want to get into a big scientific debate about the benefits of wearing a mask, but it’s a pretty bad look that masks and social distancing are not being widely used in training yards.

“I think it’s fair to say a lot of trainers have done as much as they can, but it still seems like it is a cosmetic thing at the moment and it is starting to jar that racing is not quite following the lead of many other parts of the community.

“Ultimately it is about health. We’ve been privileged to have racing continue, but a lot of yard staff are elderly or vulnerable and it is only a matter of time before we start losing people, and to not do everything possible will seem pretty poor.”

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Jockeys sporting masks at Kempton Park racecourse
Jockeys sporting masks at Kempton Park racecourse (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Rupert Arnold, chief executive of the National Trainers Federation, said: “Everybody knows the protocols. All the details are available in our daily advice to trainers on our website.

“We strongly urge trainers and their staff to follow the protocols to the letter.”

Newmarket trainer James Tate, himself a vet, insisted staff at his yard strictly adhere to protocols.

“Obviously Pete doesn’t come to our yard because as I’m a vet myself, we do the majority of our own work,” said Tate.

“We are very strict on mask wearing. I tell our lads they don’t need to wear a mask when they ride out, although some of them still do. But around the yard everyone wears them.

Newmarket trainer James Tate is also a qualified vet
Newmarket trainer James Tate is also a qualified vet (Simon Cooper/PA)

“There are signs up telling them to wear them at all times and to our knowledge nobody has caught Covid at our workplace.

“Obviously he must have gone into yards where people aren’t wearing masks as much to have made those comments, but I can’t really comment on that.

“Everyone can see on TV how stalls handlers manage to keep away from each other, even when they are dealing with a troublesome one. It’s all about washing hands and keeping space and even when they come together, it’s only for a split second – outside as well.

“I know there is the new variant, but as far as I know, if you are spending 99.9 per cent of your time outdoors, keep two metres apart and wear a mask then I don’t really share his concerns. But that is maybe based on my workplace and not others.

“He’s maybe trying to bring it to the attention of other workplaces who aren’t as strict. He is at more of a risk as he’s going to multiple yards and occasionally doing tricky procedures.

“At our yard people have breakfast sat in their own cars. Racing has done so well and personally I feel being outdoors helps a lot. It must be virtually impossible to socially distance 100 per cent of the time indoors.

“Everyone is right to flag it out as we must continue to be careful to keep our industry going.”

Fellow Newmarket handler Charlie Fellowes concurred, adding: “You’ve got to use a fair amount of common sense, which we try to initiate as much as possible.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes insists yards are doing all they can
Trainer Charlie Fellowes insists yards are doing all they can (Simon Cooper/PA)

“We take everyone’s temperatures as they walk into the yard on a morning and evening, they are reminded that if they feel or experience any symptoms they are not to come to work and must get a test.

“We are lucky, we have a spacious yard so it is not hard to maintain social distancing and we have signage up everywhere, we restrict people gathering in enclosed spaces.

“I feel the racing industry has done a fantastic job so far, so the last thing we want to do right now is slacken off and give people a reason to think we are being complacent, which we absolutely aren’t.

“From our yard’s perspective, we are doing everything we possibly can.”

The British Horseracing Authority’s chief medical adviser Dr Jerry Hill said: “We are grateful to Mr Ramzan for raising this issue. It is essential that everyone involved in the industry takes personal responsibility for following racing and Government protocols, both at work and in their domestic lives.

“Now more than ever, it is important that everyone involved in the sport continues to play their part by following these protocols closely.

“Overall the response from racing to the strict Government and industry coronavirus protocols has been excellent. However, as the situation continues to worsen nationwide owing to the new variant of the disease, it is critical that we do not take the foot off the pedal.

“The BHA continues to work closely with racing’s stakeholder bodies and guidance has been shared with industry participants on a regular basis, both through the BHA and bodies such as the NTF, NARS and PJA.

“Racing has strict protocols in place on racedays which have helped minimise any transmission of the virus on the racecourse, with no clear evidence of onwards transmission from the 800+ fixtures which have taken place since June 1.

“However, ultimately it is up to our people to ensure they observe all the guidance, both on the racecourse and away from it. Observe social distancing, wear face coverings, wash hands, stay at home where possible and protect the NHS, and definitely do not go into work if you feel unwell – instead isolate, get tested and let the BHA know your results.”

Prince Of Arran set for Kempton spin ahead of international targets

Prince Of Arran is likely to run at Kempton next month before heading off on his travels again.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained eight-year-old was placed in the Melbourne Cup for the third successive year when he last ran in November, being beaten three-quarters of a length in third by Twilight Payment.

Given a short break since, Fellowes reports Prince Of Arran to have put on plenty of condition and feels a run before travelling to Saudi Arabia and Dubai may also give him other options.

“He’s going to Saudi Arabia, provided everything is fine,” said Fellowes.

“He’s come back in looking too well, but he didn’t go out until late. He’s come back with a proper belly on him, so I’ll have to get some proper work into him.

“I think I’ll give him a prep run before Saudi, which I’ve not done before, but I just feel he needs it this year, so he might go to Kempton for a Fast-Track Qualifier over two miles in early February.

“That is two weeks before the Saudi Cup and it would work absolutely perfectly, so he’d run there, go to Saudi the following week and then off to Dubai.

“I just feel he needs the run this year. He loves Kempton, two miles there is perfect for him and should he win that – who knows what will happen with the pandemic – but it gives us the option of Finals Day if he gets qualified.

“It will open up a few doors as well as helping me get him fitter.”

Melbourne Cup Trends

Run each year on the first Tuesday in November (3rd) the Melbourne Cup is dubbed as ‘the race that stops a nation’. Run over 2m it’s the richest handicap run over that distance in the world.

Staged at Flemington racecourse in Melbourne, Australia the race always attracts runners from all corners of the globe, but there are also many key trends and stats to help you find the winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

 

Recent Melbourne Cup Winners

2019 – VOW AND DECLARE (10/1)
2018 –
CROSS COUNTER (8/1)
2017 –
REKINDLING (14/1)
2016 –
ALMANDIN (10/1)
2015 –
PRINCE OF PENZANCE (100/1)
2014 –
PROTECTIONIST (7/1)
2013 –
FIORENTE (6/1 fav)
2012 – GREEN MOON (19/1)
2011 – DUNADEN (15/2)
2010 – AMERICAIN (12/1)
2009 – SHOCKING (9/1)
2008 – VIEWED (40/1)
2007 – EFFICIENT (16/1)
2006 – DELTA BLUES (17/1)
2005 – MAKYBE DIVA (17/5 fav)
2004 – MAKYBE DIVA (13/5 fav)

Key Melbourne Cup Betting Trends and Stats

16/16 – Had won a Group class race before
14/16 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
14/16 – Raced at either Geelong (2), Flemington (3), Caulfield (4) or Moon Valley (5) last time
14/16 – Won 8 or fewer races before
14/16 – Winners from stall 5 or higher
14/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
11/16 – Had raced within the last 2 weeks
11/16 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
10/16 – Won by a AUS-based horse
10/16 – Aged 5 or older
10/16 – Drawn in stall 9 or higher
10/16 – Had raced at Flemington Park before (7 won there)
10/16 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
9/16 – Horses from stall 10 or 11 placed
9/16 – Aged 6 or older
8/16 – Won by a 6 year-old
8/16 – Had won over 1m7f or further before
7/16 – Placed favourites
4/16 – Had won just once before
4/16 – Won last time out
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Had raced in a previous Melbourne Cup
2/16 – French-trained winners
2/16 – English/Irish winners
The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 18/1

 

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Fellowes content with Melbourne Cup draw for Prince Of Arran

Charlie Fellowes expressed his satisfaction after Prince Of Arran was drawn in stall one for Tuesday’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The seven-year-old is bidding to make it third time lucky in the Flemington showpiece, having finished third behind Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter in 2019 and been placed second, after passing the post third, in last year’s renewal.

Prince Of Arran warmed up for ‘the race that stops a nation’ by finishing a close-up fourth in the Caulfield Cup two and a half weeks ago and Fellowes is looking forward to his latest challenge.

“I think the draw is fine. We can ride a race from there and get plenty of cover,” said the Newmarket-based trainer.

“It’s better than being caught out wide. It should be relatively straightforward.”

Prince Of Arran is part of a final field of 24 runners, with Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Anthony Van Dyck and Tiger Moth having mixed fortunes in the all-important barrier draw.

Caulfield Cup runner-up Anthony Van Dyck appears well placed in stall three, but Irish Derby runner-up Tiger Moth – who was last seen landing a Group Three at Leopardstown in September – is drawn second widest of all in gate 23.

Former Ballydoyle inmate Sir Dragonet, who won the Cox Plate on his first start for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, is in stall 14, while Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Master Of Reality and Twilight Payment will break from gates 11 and 12 respectively.

The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum Albion (nine) and Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby (19) are the other European challengers along with Andreas Wohler’s Ashrun (24), who sealed his place in the field with a short-heard victory in the Lexus Hotham Stakes on Saturday.

Fellowes bids reluctant farewell to Onassis

Charlie Fellowes admits he will be sorry to see Onassis go after confirming the Royal Ascot winner is to retire to the paddocks.

The three-year-old filly signed off with a creditable run to finish sixth in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot, for which she had been supplemented.

As well as winning the Sandringham Handicap at the Royal meeting earlier this season, the daughter of Dubawi picked up a pair of Listed victories at Chantilly and Goodwood.

“As far as I am aware, despite my best efforts, she is retired,” said Fellowes.

“She ran an unbelievable race the other day, considering she had won on heavy ground six days earlier. To be beaten about two lengths by some of the best sprinters in the country, and had a lot of them behind her, was a remarkable effort.

“I think she ran the quickest final furlong as well and proved how good she is. I will be desperately sad to lose her.

“She would have made a lovely four-year-old. But the owners have made the decision – and as far as I know, she’s off to the owners’ Triermore Stud.”

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Fellowes has pencilled in Chiefofchiefs, who was towards the rear in the Champions Sprint, for the Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster next month.

“Things didn’t go right for Chiefofchiefs. He got far too much daylight,” he said.

“He’s a really difficult ride. You have to ride him cold and bring him through horses.

“If he gets too much daylight, like he did at Doncaster the time before, he loses all interest. I think he’d have run a lot better if we had dropped him further out and ridden him to come through them. Sadly, the draw went against us and made tactics a bit harder.

“He’ll probably head to Doncaster for the final day of the season and run in the Listed race there.”

King Ottokar is to be aimed at the Lincoln Handicap next spring
King Ottokar is to be aimed at the Lincoln Handicap next spring (Steven Paston/PA)

The Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster at the start of the next Flat season in March is on the agenda for King Ottokar.

Fellowes is convinced a mile is his optimum trip, having mainly campaigned him over further for the last two seasons.

The four-year-old was sixth to Njord in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Saturday, after being drawn on the wrong side of the track.

“That race just sums up his season. He was dreadfully unlucky,” said Fellowes.

“He deserved a lot more out of it than he got.

“He was drawn on completely the wrong side. He had to switch three-quarters way through the race, and there was a clear advantage on the far side than on the stands side.

“We’ve mucked around trying to work out his trip.

“He’s got tons of boot. A mile is his game, and soft ground. He’ll be aimed at the Lincoln at the beginning of next year.

“There’s nothing more for him this year. He’ll go straight to the Lincoln – and then hopefully we’ll have some fun now we know which direction we’re going in.”

Dubious Affair (right) is to stay in training in 2021
Dubious Affair (right) is to stay in training in 2021 (Steven Cargill/PA)

Fellowes feels Dubious Affair can show her true colours next term too, after failing to handle the testing conditions at Ascot when making no show in the British Champions Long Distance Cup.

“She didn’t handle the ground,” he said.

“We thought she would, but she didn’t.

“The good news is she’s staying in training next year.”

The four-year-old daughter of Frankel had shown progressive form this term, winning handicaps on her first three starts, being placed in a Listed contest and then fourth in the Group Two Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Prince Of Arran all set for Melbourne Cup again

Trainer Charlie Fellowes is looking forward to Prince Of Arran trying to improve on his already fine record in the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington next month.

The seven-year-old warmed up for a third crack at the ‘race that stops a nation’ with a solid run in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday.

Prince Of Arran stayed on well in the closing stages of the mile-and-a-half feature to be beaten just two lengths in fourth place behind Verry Elleegant.

Fellowes reports the Shirocco gelding has taken the race well, despite suffering a superficial wound, and is on course for Melbourne on November 3.

The Newmarket trainer said: “He’s really good. He’s come through it well – he’s fresh and bouncing and moving well.

“He picked up a little cut on one of his front legs, but that was it. It’s nothing major at all. He seems in good form.

“It’s all systems go for the Melbourne Cup again.”

Prince Of Arran has covered himself in glory in the last two runnings of the two-mile showpiece. He was third in 2018, and was promoted to second from third spot last year.

Onassis added to Sprint field as connections target Group One farewell

Onassis and Jouska have been supplemented for Saturday’s Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot.

Both fillies won at the weekend, with Henry Candy’s Jouska successful in Saturday’s Boadicea Stakes at Newmarket, while the Charlie Fellowes-trained Onassis landed Sunday’s October Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood.

Hayley Turner, who has also won the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and a Listed race in France on Onassis this season, had feared that would be her last outing aboard the filly, but she will have another start before likely bowing out.

Fellowes said: “It’s a brave call, but she’s going to be retired and it will probably be her last ever run.

“I think she has loads of ticks in her favour – she’ll love the ground, she loves Ascot and if she can finish in the first four, it would do her pedigree an enormous amount.

“Her owners are very excited about having a crack at it, it will be her swansong and Hayley can ride. There are few options elsewhere, so we thought given she’d won £21,000 the other day, let’s have a crack.

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“She’s got a phenomenal pedigree and is already worth a lot of money, but if she gets placed, she will take it to another level.”

The two supplementary entries mean there are 19 possibles in the Sprint, including Dream Of Dreams and Glen Shiel, the first two home in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

The latter will be ridden by Hollie Doyle, who is seeking a first Group One win in what has already been a stellar year.

His trainer Archie Watson said: “I’ve been delighted with Glen Shiel since Haydock. His work into Ascot has been very good and I hope he can run another huge race.”

Dream Of Dreams (white face) just holds on from Glen Shiel (left) at Haydock
Dream Of Dreams (white face) just holds on from Glen Shiel (left) at Haydock (David Davies/PA)

He is owned by Hambleton Racing and their racing manager Simon Turner said: “Glen Shiel’s excellent run at Haydock didn’t surprise us at all and fully justified the decision to pitch him in against the best.

“His owners lived every moment of that run and are counting down the days to Saturday.”

Silvestre de Sousa is jocked up on Andrew Balding’s Happy Power meaning the ride on Tim Easterby’s Art Power, in the same ownership, could be available if both run.

One Master, Oxted, Sonaiyla and the unbeaten Starman are others of note.

Stradivarius could tackle the Long Distance Cup
Stradivarius could tackle the Long Distance Cup (Dan Abraham/PA)

Stradivarius is among 15 in the Long Distance Cup after his effort in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Aidan O’Brien has left in Broome, Dawn Patrol and Sovereign, while Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song would be a new rival for Stradivarius.

Magical has been left in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, but she also has the option of the Champion Stakes which she won last year.

There are 13 others in the Fillies & Mares including Laburnum and Passion, stablemates of Magical.

Even So won the Irish Oaks for Ger Lyons
Even So won the Irish Oaks for Ger Lyons (PA)

Ger Lyons’ Irish Oaks winner Even So, the Ralph Beckett pair of Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega and Ed Vaughan’s Dame Malliot are in the mix.

William Haggas’ Montatham heads the weights for the Balmoral Handicap.

Last year’s winner Escobar is also among the 43 left in.

Onassis strikes Listed gold for Fellowes and Turner

Royal Ascot heroine Onassis got back on the winning trail with victory in the tote/British EBF October Fillies’ Stakes at Goodwood.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained three-year-old landed the Sandringham Stakes at the summer showpiece meeting in June, before going on to bag a Listed prize in France the following month.

Returning to Listed class following a fourth-placed finish in the Group Three Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster, Onassis was a 9-2 chance in the hands of regular partner Hayley Turner and came home to good effect to beat 7-2 favourite With Thanks by half a length.

Helvezia was best of the rest in third.

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Fellowes said: “I’m delighted with her. She’s so tough and very talented.

“I thought she was unlucky at Doncaster last time as she was on the wrong side of the track and had to do a lot of work on her own without having anything to take her into the race.

“The race has worked out well, with Cloak Of Spirits (fifth) coming out and finishing third in a Group One (Sun Chariot), so we were confident of a big run today, although you never know how they’re going to handle this sort of ground.

Onassis and Hayley Turner after winning at Royal Ascot
Onassis and Hayley Turner after winning at Royal Ascot (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“I know she won on soft ground at Ascot, but it was a different kettle of fish today.

“She’s off to the breeding shed next year, so we’ll look at what options we have between now and then. Now she’s shown she goes on heavy ground, that opens a few more doors.

“She’s worth quite a lot money now and I’m delighted for her owners. I’m incredibly grateful that they sent her to me and thankfully she has repaid them – she doesn’t owe us anything.”

Fellowes made it a quick double as Amarillo Star (16-1) came home well clear of his rivals in the tote.co.uk Home Of The Placepot Handicap under Stevie Donohoe.

Goshen was beaten again at Goodwood
Goshen was beaten again at Goodwood (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Leading Champion Hurdle hope Goshen suffered his second successive defeat on the Flat in the Join tote.co.uk With £10 Risk Free Handicap.

Gary Moore’s stable star finished last of six runners at Haydock last month on what was his first appearance since his heartbreaking final-flight exit when seemingly set for a wide-margin win in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

With that run under his belt, he was the even-money favourite for his latest assignment under Hector Crouch, but after making much of the running, he weakened into third place behind the Queen’s Natural History (100-30), trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Oisin Murphy.

Daahyeh makes eagerly-awaited return at Ascot

Roger Varian’s Daahyeh returns to action for the first time since finishing a meritorious second at the Breeders’ Cup when she runs in the John Guest Racing British EBF Stakes at Ascot.

A fruitful first campaign, in which she was also second to Love in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, culminated in a trip to America, where she was beaten by Sharing.

A setback delayed her return, but David Egan, who won twice on her last season – including the Albany Stakes – is looking forward to getting back on board.

“We’ve not seen her on track this year as she had a little setback, but I’m sure she will be spot on for Saturday and I’m hoping she can get back to her best,” said Egan.

“She has obviously got the form in the book having been second in the Breeders’ Cup and being a Royal Ascot winner, so she is the one to beat. They’ve done plenty of work with her and Roger feels she is fit and ready to go and make her mark for the year.

“She is back at seven furlongs having run over a mile at the Breeders’ Cup, but she won the Rockfel over seven and the Albany over six, so she is not short of speed. I think an Ascot seven is well within her capabilities.

“I wouldn’t want it bottomless for her, but anything would be fine as long as it is not exaggerated.”

Another Royal Ascot winner, Charlie Fellowes’ Onassis, once again has the assistance of Hayley Turner, having finished fourth in a Doncaster Group Three last time out.

Onassis won at Royal Ascot  for Hayley Turner
Onassis won at Royal Ascot for Hayley Turner (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

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The Newmarket trainer said: “The form of the Doncaster race worked out very nicely when Cloak Of Spirits (fifth) and Bounce The Blues (third) went and ran first and second in that race (Rosemary Stakes) the other day.

“She loves Ascot – her run style really suits it, and seven furlongs with cut in the ground, which it’s going to be, is perfect.

“We’re ready to go – she’s in good form, and it will be absolutely ideal for her.”

Fellowes, meanwhile, is similarly enthused by the prospects of King Ottokar, also over seven furlongs, in the tote.co.uk Challenge Cup – having at last, he believes, worked out what makes the talented son of Motivator tick.

“King Ottokar has been a real head-scratcher,” he said.

“I’ve never made any secret of how highly I regard this horse.

“(But) he was going nowhere in the spring – he showed me nothing, and I was really disappointed with his work.

“He ran poorly twice, and then we gelded him, and I put a visor on him at home – and it was like a different horse. The horse I had last year returned.

“He showed me much more speed than he’d shown me all year, much more speed.

“He’s much better on soft ground, and confirmed that the other day. It looks like we’re probably going to get his conditions this weekend.”

Trainer Clive Cox during is looking to continue his good form this weekend
Trainer Clive Cox during is looking to continue his good form this weekend (John Walton/PA)

King Ottokar faces 17 rivals in a hugely-competitive heat, including Clive Cox’s duo of River Nymph and Wise Counsel.

Cox is also represented in the John Guest Bengough Stakes by Snazzy Jazzy, who wears first-time cheekpieces.

“He is in the form of his life at home. I’ve put some cheekpieces on him as I just think he would help his concentration,” said Cox.

“We’ve moved between six and seven furlongs with him, but I don’t know what happened last time at Goodwood. The one thing we can do is sleep easy with all this rain about as the more rain the better for him.”

In the same race, The Tin Man returns to a track where he has won two Group Ones for James Fanshawe.

“We know he acts with cut in the ground, but there is a lot forecast and when it gets to extremes you just don’t know,” said Fanshawe.

“As far as the horse is concerned he’s really well and we are running in a Group Three rather than a Group One, so hopefully he’ll find it a bit easier.

“He’s in good form, he’s been working well so we’ll see how he gets on.”

In the tote.co.uk Rous Stakes over five furlongs Tiz Marvellous carries the hopes of Cox, along with the three-year-old Star In The Making.

“Tiz Marvellous often turns up in races like this,” said Cox.

“He surprised me when he won the conditions race at Leicester on soft ground because I’ve always believed he wanted better ground. Even if it is really wet we are going to take a chance with him as it is his last run of the season.

“It is a bit of a big step for Star In The Making to take but she enjoys the ground, she is in excellent form and when you have got a filly in form at this time of year it pays to be brave.

“We going to have a crack at getting some black type on her page.”

Fellowes finds himself rooting for ‘George Scott’ victory at Newmarket

Charlie Fellowes is banking on the equine George Scott to do him proud as he raises the stakes at Newmarket this weekend.

Fellowes and his fellow trainer and near neighbour George Scott have created confusion and amusement in near equal measure with their joint venture this summer to each run a new juvenile recruit named after one another and in the same ownership.

It is all starting to get serious too, though – as was always intended – after Scott’s Charlie Fellowes opened his account at the seventh attempt last week with a seven-length win at Beverley.

Fellowes is about to up the ante again as George Scott makes his third career start in Saturday’s £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes.

Both geldings are providing handy promotion by running in the colours of the two trainers’ Offthebridle podcast – and if George Scott can make a splash in the valuable sales race, he will be putting Fellowes’ nose nicely back in front.

George Scott (white cap) in action at Ascot
George Scott (white cap) in action at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

At that suggestion, Fellowes said: “Exactly – we think they’re both pretty decent horses, and could both easily pick up some nice prizes

“For two horses who were bought for less than 20 grand, we’re pretty delighted with what we’ve come up with.”

He does admit to marginally mixed feelings, and no little uncertainty about exactly how to behave, when watching his namesake run for a rival stable – albeit in his own part-ownership.

“It is strange, but only because I hate cheering on other people’s horses!” said Fellowes.

“To cheer on a horse trained by someone else feels very alien.

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“But the whole thing has been a really good experience. The only sad thing is that we really put the syndicate together for a bit of fun, to do some social stuff, which we obviously haven’t been able to do this year (because of coronavirus crowd restrictions).”

He is hoping George Scott will have his many supporters cheering at the necessary social distance, though, at HQ – having run with promise on both starts so far.

“That’s the plan,” said Fellowes.

“This has been a long-term plan, all along.

“He worked (on Wednesday morning) on the grass, and worked very nicely.”

Fellowes suspects George Scott may prove adept over a longer trip in time, but he is nonetheless optimistic.

“There will be a fine question mark over the six (furlongs), whether he’s quite got the speed for it,” he added.

“But there’s a lot of rain forecast, and we’d be wanting as much rain as possible for him.

“I think he’s got sharper and sharper with each run.

“It’s obviously quite a tough race, and he’s got quite a bit to find with a few of the top horses.

“But as a lot people know, mine aren’t wound up particularly on their first few starts, and they tend to improve significantly through the beginnings of their careers.

“I’d be confident he can run a really nice race.

“I could have run him after Ascot, and we decided not to and to freshen him up and have him absolutely spot on for the sales race – so this has been the plan ever since.”

As for the ‘other’ Charlie Fellowes, further progress appears highly likely.

Fellowes said of his alter ego: “He was very, very impressive the other day – I’m told the time was excellent, and I think Timeform gave him quite a good figure as a result.

“I think George is now going to just take his time, and train him like the good horse he looked the other day.”

A maximum field has been declared for the Newmarket feature, led by the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha.

The Sepoy youngster, who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle, was last seen winning the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.

Mighty Gurkha (left) sets the standard at Newmarket
Mighty Gurkha (left) sets the standard at Newmarket (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Mighty Gurkha is one of two contenders for Lambourn-based Watson, alongside Ocean Star, who won her maiden by 11 lengths at Chepstow.

Tom Clover has high hopes for Fairy Dust, who is already Listed-placed this season but was down the field most recently in a Group Three at Salisbury.

Clover said: “We ran a close third last year with Gypsy Spirit for some of the same connections and we’re hoping that we can go a couple better this time around.

“Fairy Dust was disappointing at Salisbury last time but her previous form was very good, and she has been training really well recently. I’ve been very happy with her.

“It’s going to be pretty hard work out there, with all the rain forecast, but being by Gregorian I hope she’ll handle it OK. She’s drawn 30, which is nice draw for her, so hopefully she will run well.”

Prince Of Arran poised for latest Australian adventure

Prince Of Arran is all set for his third attempt to win the Melbourne Cup – and his new big-race jockey should be known this weekend.

Charlie Fellowes confirmed his globetrotting stable star in perfect condition for the start of his latest adventure.

Prince Of Arran, who has been in quarantine in preparation for his 10,000-mile outward journey, will leave in the small hours of Thursday morning.

By the time he is safely settled again down under, the world may well know who is set to take over in the saddle too.

Michael Walker – who rode Prince Of Arran to be third at Flemington two years ago and then second 12 months ago, promoted from third after interference ahead of him – decided two weeks ago to switch to Dashing Willoughby this time.

On Wednesday, Fellowes said: “We are going to announce a jockey at the weekend.

“I can’t say quite now, but I think we’ve made our decision, and the plan is to announce who is going to ride then.”

Dashing Willoughby is Melbourne Cup-bound too
Dashing Willoughby is Melbourne Cup-bound too (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Prince Of Arran completed his British summer with an honourable third behind the brilliant mare Enable in Kempton’s September Stakes three weeks ago, and has since continued preparation in quarantine for his Australian schedule.

There, the seven-year-old will run in the Caulfield Cup on October 17 and then the Melbourne Cup on November 3.

“He’s really well,” added Fellowes.

“He galloped on the Limekilns on Tuesday with (Andrew Balding’s) Dashing Willoughby – they worked over seven furlongs, and they both seemed to be in great order.

“He is pretty much absolutely spot on where I want him – probably about five to 10 kilos heavy at the moment, which is great, and that gives him a bit of room for the trip down.

“Then he’ll do a couple of pieces of work down the other end.

“He’ll run in the Caulfield Cup, and then the Melbourne Cup.”

Aljady continues winning spree for Cowell

Aljady finished with a flourish to claim his fourth victory of the season in the feature race at Beverley.

Having lost his form for Richard Fahey towards the end of last season, the five-year-old changed hands for 42,000 guineas in October – and has been completely reinvigorated since joining Robert Cowell and being campaigned solely over sprint distances.

Since making a successful debut for his new connections at Haydock in early June, Aljady has added wins at Windsor and Sandown to his record, as well as finishing a close-up seventh in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Cowell’s charge was the 11-10 favourite for his latest assignment in the Eddie And Violet Smith Conditions Stakes – but it was not plain sailing for the market leader, with rapid older sprinters Caspian Prince and Ornate ensuring the pace was strong.

Aljady was under pressure to keep up racing inside the final couple of furlongs, but came home strongly in the hands of Charles Bishop to get up and beat Orvar by half a length – with Caspian Prince just over two lengths away in third.

Cowell said: “He’s a very good horse who was showing plenty of potential before we even ran him this year, so I’m not surprised he’s got to the lofty rating he has, to be honest.

“Both myself and Tom Morley loved him at the sales and were surprised to get him for the price we did.

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“He keeps improving, he’s adaptable over five and six furlongs and handles fast or soft ground – he’s an owner’s dream.

“I think he deserves to go into black type company now, and we’ll probably look at the Rous Stakes at Ascot (October 3) next.”

Charlie Fellowes wins at Beverley
Charlie Fellowes wins at Beverley (Tim Goode/PA)

The George Scott-trained Charlie Fellowes finally got his head in front for the first time in the opening Beverley Annual Badgeholders Novice Auction Stakes.

Named after Scott’s friend and fellow Newmarket-based trainer, the equine Charlie Fellowes has proved frustrating to follow – filling the runner-up spot on three successive occasions before this appearance on the Westwood.

However, the 13-8 market leader broke his duck in some style – making most of the running and passing the post with seven lengths in hand under Paul Mulrennan.

Scott said: “He has been pretty consistent and he has been unfortunate to bump into various horses at various times. He was slightly mugged at Ripon by what could be a nice filly (Setantii Girl).

“We put some cheek-pieces on him, and he has put in a solid display. He is clearly improving and hopefully he will carry on.”

Fellowes trains a two-year-old named George Scott, who has failed to win in two starts to date.

Scott added: “Charlie and I are great mates, and we decided to set up a podcast (Off The Bridle Podcast) where we knocked a few ideas around – and one of them was to buy each other a horse and name it after the other person.

“We filled the syndicates up through listeners and existing owners who wanted a share for the entertainment value, while we each retained a share ourselves.

“Charlie loves to talk, so it is lovely to have the bragging rights! He is always giving me grief and he has slightly had the upper hand over the last couple of years with better quality horses, so this is a small win over him.

“At the end of the day, us trainers are all in it together – and to have a bit of camaraderie like this is a good thing. ”

Naamoos comes home clear
Naamoos comes home clear (Tim Goode/PA)

Naamoos justified cramped odds of 4-11 in the Racing To School ebfstallions.com Novice Stakes for trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Joe Fanning, before Roger Varian’s 2-7 shot Valyrian Steel and David Egan carried the same colours of owner Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to success in the RFM Equinephotos Novice Stakes.

James Bethell’s Idoapologise (11-4) also obliged for favourite backers in the Eddie Moll Handicap under Kevin Stott.

Apprentice Faye McManoman, meanwhile, was seen to good effect aboard the Nigel Tinkler-trained Not On Your Nellie (12-1) in the Churchill Tyres Handicap.

Mick Easterby’s Casilli was a 14-1 winner of the Churchill Tyres A Great British Brand Handicap, with David Allan doing the steering, and the Brian And Jason Merrington Memorial Handicap went to Mick Appleby’s 7-2 favourite Double Reflection, under a fine ride from Josephine Gordon.

Stat of the Day, 8th August 2020

Friday's pick was...

1.45 Sandown : Garsman @ 11/2 BOG 2nd at 4/1 (Tracked leader, pushed along over 1f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, headed post) 

Saturday's pick runs in the...

3.35 Ascot :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Jeremiah @ 13/2 BOG

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...in a 12-runner, Class 2, Flat Handicap for 4yo+ over 1m4f on Good to Firm ground worth £12,938 to the winner... 

Why?...

As is often the case, the Geegeez racecard contains an absolute stack of supporting evidence...

...which briefly tells us that we've an LTO winner (same class, course, distance, jockey 13 days ago), who is regarded by our ratings to have a good chance and whose jockey has a good record at this track (C1) (and he beat us yesterday by a head). Our trainer is in good recent form (14, 30) and has also been amongst the winners at this venue (C1, C5) and has a good record with both LTO winners and Flat Stayers.

Is there enough there to hang a bet on? At 13/2, probably yes, as the above would suggest a better than 1 in 7 chance, but I do like to offer you something else that isn't already staring you in the face, so let's consider why trainer Charlie Fellowes appears in another of my unimaginatively named microsystems : Late Summer FHC, shall we?

Esssentially it's a group of trainers that I look out for in Flat Handicaps during July to August, from which Charlie Fellowes' runners sent off at 8/1 or shorter are...

He does have some good numbers in the 12/1 to 16/1 range too, but we'll focus on those in the general SotD price bracket today, as a 27% strike rate and a return of over 62p in the pound at Betfair SP is perfect for our needs and of those 100 runners, the following are relevant today...

  • 26/85 (30.6%) for 69.9pts (+82.2%) with horses aged 3-5 yrs old
  • 23/67 (34.3%) for 72pts (+107.4%) over 1m to 1m6f
  • 17/53 (32.1%) for 63pts (+118.8%) at 11-25 dslr
  • 18/52 (34.6%) for 48.5pts (+93.3%) from runners in the frame LTO
  • 12/41 (29.3%) for 16.6pts (+40.4%) in August
  • 11/28 (39.3%) for 28.4pts (+101.4%) with LTO winners
  • 5/14 (35.7%) for 28pts (+200%) at Class 2
  • 7/13 (53.9%) for 42.2pts (+324.4%) in races worth £12-20k
  • 6/13 (46.2%) for 22.2pts (+170.6%) in 4yo+ handicaps
  • 2/7 (28.6%) for 7.3pts (+104.3%) here at Ascot
  • and 2/2 (100%) for 13.5pts (+675%) with Jim Crowley in the saddle

100 bets isn't a massive sample size, but more than adequate and I'm mindful of over diluting the dataset, but from the above, we could make a mental note that 3-5 yr olds placed LTO 11-25 days earlier now racing over 1m-1m6f are 9 from 21 (42.9% SR) for 37.2pts (+177.2% ROI) including 5/11 (45.5% SR) with LTO winners and 3 from 6 (50%) in August...

...pointing to... a 1pt win bet on Jeremiah @ 13/2 BOG as was quite widely available (inc at least three BOGs) at 8.05 am Saturday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 3.35 Ascot

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!