Fellowes eager to take November test with Mr Curiosity

Trainer Charlie Fellowes is keen on the chances of the lightly-raced Mr Curiosity in the Virgin Bet November Handicap at Doncaster.

The four-year-old son of Frankel, owned by Anthony Oppenheimer, heads to Town Moor on the back of a cosy victory at Redcar three weeks ago.

The gelding has had six starts since making a belated debut in April, so is relatively unexposed as he takes on seasoned handicappers on Saturday.

“He’s a lovely horse. He won very nicely last time out – although that was a considerably weaker race than this,” said Fellowes.

“I think Doncaster will really suit him – a big, galloping track. He’ll love the soft ground. He stays all day, and I hope there is still plenty to come from him.

“He’s got a good draw (in stall six), and I think we go there with a lively chance.”

Rhythmic Intent was runner-up in this race 12 months ago, and was a winner over an extended mile and three-quarters at the South Yorkshire venue in September.

Rhythmic Intent was second in the Unibet November Handicap last year
Rhythmic Intent was second in the November Handicap last year (Mike Egerton/PA)

He did not perform to his best back over the course and distance last month, but trainer Stuart Williams believes it is best to ignore that effort.

“He ran a good race in this race last year. Obviously, he didn’t run well the other day, but I don’t think a small field suits him very much these days,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“I’m very happy with him – I’m happy with the draw (seven), and he should appreciate the ground. I’m hopeful of a good run.”

Sam Cooke was well-beaten when favourite for this race 12 months ago, but trainer Ralph Beckett felt a wide draw ruined his chances that day.

The five-year-old has a more favourable stall (13) this time, and arrives at Doncaster in prime condition.

“His last two runs have been the best two of his life – he started favourite for this race last year, and the wide draw kiboshed his chances,” said Beckett.

“He saw too much daylight and was keen, but I’m hoping we can plenty of cover for him on Saturday and that he runs his race.”

Tim Easterby has had a tremendous season and has two good chances in Wells Farhh Go and Dark Jedi.

Wells Farhh Go is one of two runners for trainer Tim Easterby in the November Handicap
Wells Farhh Go is one of two runners for trainer Tim Easterby in the November Handicap (Simon Cooper/PA)

Wells Farhh Go is a dual Group-race winner, whose career has been interrupted by injury. His only previous attempt in a handicap was in the Ebor in 2019.

“Wells Farhh has only run in one handicap before. He’s off a good mark and he seems in good form. Hopefully he’ll run well,” said William Easterby, assistant to his father.

“The ground has been heavy the last twice he’s run. It hasn’t suited him, so we’ll have to see.

“Dark Jedi has been running well all year and was only beaten a neck by Aaaddeey over this course and distance last month.

“He’s been a great horse for us. He’s a grand horse and ran a good race at Doncaster the last time. He was just beaten by one. Hopefully he’ll have a good chance – he should go well.”

Charlie Fellowes eager to take Champions Sprint test with Vadream

Connections of Vadream have opted to take the plunge and supplement the filly for the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot on Saturday following the scratching of Starman.

The three-year-old was added to the field for the six-furlong Group One at the five-day confirmation stage, which makes a total of 22 hopefuls.

Ante-post favourite Starman, winner of the July Cup, was the most notable absentee after suffering a setback. The Ed Walker-trained four-year-old colt has been retired.

Vadream staked her claim for consideration with a timely success in the Group Three Bengough Stakes at the Berkshire track at the beginning of the month.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes is happy for the daughter of Brazen Beau to take her chance, though he has every sympathy for the Starman team.

“She won a course-and-distance Group Three a couple of weeks ago. She’s bounced out of that race,” he said.

“Starman being out blows a massive hole in the race because he’s an outstanding sprinter. I’m genuinely gutted for Ed because I know they have had to pick and choose where they run this horse and the ground was about to come in his favour. It’s a real shame for them.

“Our filly is proven over the course and distance. She’ll go on any ground. It should be beautiful which won’t bother her one bit and Ascot really suits her racing style.

rainer Charlie Fellowes is delighted the way Vadream has come out of her last race
Trainer Charlie Fellowes is delighted the way Vadream has come out of her last race (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’d be mad not to give it a crack. This will be her last run of the year and she stays in training next year so it was a no-brainer. I couldn’t be happier the way she’s come out of her race.”

One of the leading fancies is Archie Watson’s consistent three-year-old Dragon Symbol while Watson has a second string in last year’s winner Glen Shiel. Others in the mix include Rohaan, Art Power and Creative Force.

Trueshan and Stradivarius, first and second in the Prix du Cadran earlier this month, could clash again in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The Alan King-trained Trueshan took this prize 12 months ago while John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was successful in 2018.

Stradivarius failed to sparkle on testing ground in France
Stradivarius failed to sparkle on testing ground in France (Mike Egerton/PA)

John Gosden felt the team made an error in opting to run at ParisLongchamp, with conditions against Stradivarius.

He said: “We made a mistake running in France on ground which was not what we had been led to expect.

“On the Saturday they were running on ground that had been used for the Trials and while he ran a valiant race, it was just not his ground.”

While the Ascot going may be more to Stradivarius’ liking, King is yet to make a decision on whether soft-ground specialist Trueshan will line up.

He said: “I’ve left Trueshan in and we’ll make a decision on Thursday. We’ll do a bit with him mid-week and see how everything pans out, but I can’t see any rain in the forecast.

“He has only cantered since Longchamp but he looks a picture. The Prix Royal-Oak the following weekend is there if we need it instead, but I’m told there’s not much rain about in France either and I’d prefer to go to Ascot.”

Hamish, Princess Zoe and The Mediterranean are among other smart stayers standing their ground.

Search For A Song has multiple options at Ascot
Search For A Song has multiple options at Ascot (Niall Carson/PA)

Two-time Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song, trained by Dermot Weld, has an alternative entry in the Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes.

The 12 possibles are headed by Aidan O’Brien’s classy pair of Snowfall and Love.

Oaks winner Snowfall would be making a quick reappearance after finishing sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Love was a late withdrawal after developing a temperature. Both are also entered in the Champion Stakes.

Paddy Twomey’s La Petite Coco, who lowered Love’s colours in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh last month, is expected to take her chance.

The Gosden-trained Free Wind heads the ante-post market following convincing victories in the Prix Minerve at Deauville and the Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster.

Rowley run a possibility for Newbury victor Injazati

Charlie Fellowes is predicting a bright future for Injazati following his Newbury win and he could sign off for the season in the bet365 Old Rowley Cup on October 8.

The Night Of Thunder colt took his record to three wins from just five outings in a valuable prize on Saturday.

That came over 10 furlongs but Fellowes feels a step up in trip could bring out more improvement.

“We really like him. He’s a horse I’ve always really liked a huge amount,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He’s a big, scopey individual who needs a bit of cut in the ground. He’s a big baby really, so I think another run would probably do him some good.

“He’s in the Old Rowley Cup in a few weeks and that looks the obvious place to go, providing the ground is not too quick. I think he’ll stay 12 furlongs no problem.

“We’ll have a look at that as a finishing point and we’re hopeful he might turn into a middle distance Group horse somewhere along the line.

“He’s very much a next-year horse. He’s not had a huge amount of racing and another run this year would do him the world of good.”

Fellowes banking on rain to help Eve Lodge’s Cheveley Park bid

Charlie Fellowes is keeping a close eye on the Newmarket weather after stumping up £20,000 to supplement Eve Lodge for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes.

The Ardad filly struck Group Three gold last time out when landing the Sirenia Stakes on the Kempton Polytrack – form which received a huge boost when runner-up Wings Of War and third-placed Hierarchy finished first and second respectively in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Eve Lodge, who runs in the colours of Mathis Stables, may bid for Group One glory on Saturday, although Fellowes would not be keen to run if the ground is on the fast side.

He said: “The owners have been brilliant – they’ve put no pressure on her running but have said we’ll see what happens with the weather through the week and go from there.

“I was a bit worried about what she beat at Kempton, but it turns out I need not have been – with them being first and second in the Mill Reef.

“You don’t get to run in Cheveley Parks very often. She’s a very good filly, we’ve always felt that, so providing the ground isn’t too quick I see no reason why we won’t take our chance.

“The rain on Sunday helped, and there is the possibility of showers later in the week.”

Sacred Bridge is Ger Lyons' possible runner
Sacred Bridge is Ger Lyons’ possible runner (Brien Lawless/PA)

George Boughey’s Corazon, a Group Three winner in France and third in the Flying Childers this month, was also supplemented for the six-furlong heat – while the same trainer has Thunder Love too.

The Ger Lyons-trained Sacred Bridge is among the leading lights for the contest, having won each of her four starts to date – including the Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh last time out.

She is one of four possible Irish raiders – along with Aidan O’Brien’s Naas maiden winner Tenebrism and Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Pennine Hills and Velocidad.

Zain Claudette has won her last three races
Zain Claudette has won her last three races (Nigel French/PA)

Zain Claudette brings some classy form to the table, having won three of her four starts, including the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot and the Lowther at York on her two most recent outings for trainer Ismail Mohammed.

He said: “She’s in very good form – we worked her on Monday on the all weather, and she is flying.

“She’s in good nick up to now – we’ll work her on grass on Wednesday too. She’s changed a lot since the Group Two and she’s doing very, very well.

“You will 100 per cent see her in the Cheveley Park next.”

Sandrine was beaten at York last time
Sandrine was beaten at York last time (David Davies/PA)

Lowther second Sandrine is in the mix again for Andrew Balding, having won the Albany at Royal Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on Newmarket’s July Course earlier in the campaign.

Flotus was an impressive Ripon scorer for Simon and Ed Crisford and she is also among 15 confirmations – while French raider Have A Good Day, sixth in the Prix Morny, adds an extra European flavour for Florian Guyader.

Karl Burke has both Guilded and Illustrating to choose from, with Desert Dreamer and Sense Of Duty the other possibles.

‘Utter superstar’ Prince Of Arran bows out at Kempton

Charlie Fellowes went through a multitude of emotions on a roller-coaster day at Kempton that saw him register a first domestic Group-race success with Eve Lodge and retire his long-time stable star Prince Of Arran in the very next contest.

Eve Lodge gave the Newmarket handler his landmark triumph in the Group Three Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes to add to the Group Three races he has won aboard, including with Prince Of Arran, as well as having several Listed races to his credit.

Prince Of Arran put up a solid performance in the Unibet September Stakes won by the William Haggas-trained Hamish – but Fellowes felt the time was right to bring the curtain down on his career, after the authorities in Australia informed him the eight-year-old would not be permitted to run in the Melbourne Cup for a fourth time.

“An amazing day. It was quite apt Prince Of Arran was here on a day I got my first domestic Group winner,” said Fellowes.

“It’s been a long time coming and we’ve gone so close on so many occasions, including with Prince Of Arran, and for it to happen with him here was fantastic. A special day. One I will never forget.”

Prince Of Arran won more than £2million in prize-money, mainly thanks to his placed efforts in the last three runnings of the Melbourne Cup.

Fellowes added: “The plan had been to run him in the Melbourne Cup and retire him after that. This was going to be his last year racing whatever.

“The run today was very good for him. It’s as good as he’s run in this race.

“He ran well up to form and it was lovely to see him much better than he was at Ascot in he spring. If we’d been allowed to go to Australia we’d have gone, but now that’s off the cards there’s not much else here for him now.

“We retire a sound and happy horse and he’ll have a fantastic retirement wherever that may be.

“For someone at this stage of my career with a horse like him, some of the days I’ve had have been so special.

“He’s won over £2m in prize-money, we’ve travelled all around the world with him and he’s been an utter superstar. I can’t thank his owners enough or the many people in our yard who have had such an impact on his career.”

For connections of Hamish, it was sheer delight after the five-year-old bounced back impressively after 442 days out through injury to lower the colours of Hukum, the 30-100 favourite, by a neck.

Maureen Haggas, assistant trainer to her husband, said: “I didn’t think we’d beat Hukum, I must say. He was fit and well, but has obviously been off the track for a long time and was a bit fresh and gassy today.

“It’s been a real big team effort to get him back. Laura Thomas did all his treatment and rehab for his tendon injury with the vet Jeremy Swan, and Andrew Tinkler has ridden him a lot at home.

“He’s a talented horse. He had great form as a three-year-old and ran a really good race in the Hardwicke last year, where unfortunately he picked up his tendon injury.

“It was great for the family to get a Group winner. He needs soft ground and we ran him today as we needed to get out and give him a race as he was ready to go.

“It’s a kind surface here – we couldn’t run him at York in the Ebor as it was too fast. He needs rain so he will run where it rains. We aim at the stayers’ race on Champions Day at Ascot and work back from that.”

Fellowes, meanwhile, can look to the future with Eve Lodge after she justified his faith with an authoritative success.

Always prominent in the hands of Jim Crowley, the 16-1 chance galloped on strongly to beat the staying-on Wings Of War by a length.

The daughter of Ardad made amends for being beaten at odds on last time at Yarmouth, but she can now be excused that as the horse that beat her, Romantic Time, landed the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury on Thursday.

Fellowes said: “She’s a filly I’ve always liked and we were disappointed at Ascot, but the ground was so bad. We went away deflated and then went to Yarmouth and thought she was a penalty kick. She got beaten and we were slightly scratching our heads that maybe she’s not as good as I thought she was, but the winner has gone and won a Group Three on Thursday.

“Suddenly that race looked pretty good and I was feeling a lot more confident. I knew she would love the track and the surface and we had a ripper of a draw.

“I’m delighted with that. She’s a nice filly and has got a brilliant attitude.

“She’s a good-sized filly and I have no doubt she will train on next year.

“Annoyingly, she’s not in the Cheveley Park. I’ll speak to the owners and we’ll decide where the next move is for her, but she’s in a few sales races which could be tempting. We’ll see where we go.”

Prince Of Arran up for latest September challenge

Charlie Fellowes reports Prince Of Arran to be coming back to his best ahead of the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday.

The Newmarket trainer felt the eight-year-old was not himself earlier in the campaign, but all is well now and a fourth successive trip to Australia could be on the cards should be put up a good show in the Group Three over a mile and a half.

Prince Of Arran has finished third in the last two runnings of the September Stakes and has been placed in the Melbourne Cup for the last three years.

“He is September Stakes-bound on Saturday. I think the race last year really left a mark on him,” Fellowes told Sky Sports Racing.

“He ran two huge races in Australia and didn’t win either of them. He was bitterly unlucky both times and it’s taken him a long time to get over that. He was not the same horse in the spring. You could see mentally he wasn’t in the right place, so we’ve given him the time.

“I didn’t know if, at eight years old, he’d had enough, but we’ve prepared him for this race with a view of going to Australia and every piece of work he’s got better and better.

“Jamie Spencer rode him on Saturday having not ridden him since the spring, and he couldn’t believe the difference in him. He said he felt like a two-year-old again – he worked brilliantly. He’s a much happier horse and more enthusiastic. It’s maybe this time of year he blossoms.

“He loves Kempton. It looks like a decent race, but he’s a very good horse round there and I’d just like to see him run well. If he runs well then all options are open going forward.”

Fellowes all smiles after Bryon Hill triumph

Byron Hill put the smile back on Charlie Fellowes’ face with a narrow victory in the MansionBet Beaten By A Head Colwick Cup Handicap at Nottingham.

Just an hour earlier the Newmarket handler felt he was hard done by when San Francisco Bay was demoted to second place at Wolverhampton for causing interference to the head runner-up Oh Great.

But all was well again after Byron Hill (100-30) grabbed long-time leader Speedo Bay to take the feature by a nose in the hands of Louis Steward.

“We’ve had one at Wolverhampton win and get turned over for little interference, so I was dreading getting beaten a nose,” said Fellowes.

“He’s a big horse. I’ve loved him from the day I bought him, but he’s been a project. The owners have been so patient and we have taken our time and he’s now starting to blossom.

“I was a bit concerned about the two miles because there is quite a lot of speed on his dam’s side. He’s not guaranteed to stay, even though he’s by Kingston Hill, but he stayed that no problem. He’s only going to get better.

“No immediate plans, maybe if he improved enough the Cesarewitch possibly. He might just stay further.”

However, there was a price to pay for Steward, as he was banned for nine days for using his whip above the permitted level. He was suspended from August 27 to September 4.

Bashkirova (6-1) looked a potentially smart filly with an eyecatching success on her belated debut in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Stakes.

The William Haggas-trained three-year-old lost several lengths at the start, but made stealthy progress under Cieren Fallon in the long straight to wear down 2-5 favourite Diamil and prevail by a neck.

“She’s a big strong filly and did everything right today, just what you want on her first start,” said Fallon.

“Her class has prevailed. She’s hit the ground quite hard. She’s got a knee action, but has plenty of ability. She’s very honest and tries for you. She’s very well bred and she’ll be suited by a step up in trip.”

Paul Mulrennan kept his daughter Scarlet happy after getting True Scarlet home in the MansionBet Extra Places Fillies’ Handicap.

The 7-2 shot squeezed through a gap on the far rail to nail Babindi by a neck, to give the jockey his first winner for trainer Ed Walker.

“Fair play to the filly she pulled it out of the bag. She showed a great attitude and the split came at the right time,” said Mulrennan.

“She actually lost both front shoes, so fair play to her.”

He added: “When I was having my cornflakes this morning my daughter Scarlet was saying ‘you’ve got to ride a winner now dad’. Happy days.”

Adam O’Shea came from out of the clouds on My Brother Mike to land his first career success in the AJA Novice Flat Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap.

The 25-1 outsider, trained by John Stimpson, was produced from way off the pace to win by a length and a quarter from Jeddeyd.

“It was always the plan just to hold on to him for as long as I could and about a furlong out the plan was to kick and go. They went fairly quick early, which helped me massively, so I just settled him and got him into a lovely rhythm,” said O’Shea.

“That was my first winner and it was just brilliant. It’s a massive moment for me and I’m just lost for words. I’ll remember that for a long time.”

Snooze N You Lose (15-2) built on her for her first run five weeks ago to get off the mark in the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Trainer Karl Burke felt the daughter of Ribchester had learnt plenty from Newbury, where she was down the field, and she proved too strong for 4-5 favourite Serenity, scoring by a length under Jason Hart.

Jonny Peate took his tally to nine in his first season riding when steering Glorious Rio (9-4 favourite) to victory in the MansionBet Bet £10 Get £20 Handicap.

The 7lb apprentice, attached to Mark Johnston’s stable, timed his run to perfection on Stella Barclay’s four-year-old to collar Zoom Star close home and get the verdict by a length and a quarter.

Dropping down to five furlongs for the first time worked the oracle for Mejthaam (100-30) in the MansionBet Watch And Bet Handicap.

The Charlie Hills-trained filly made all under Ben Curtis to win by two lengths from Fantasy Master.

September outing crucial to future plans for Prince Of Arran

Prince Of Arran faces a “proper D-Day” assignment at Kempton next month as his trainer Charlie Fellowes ponders a fourth bid to win the Melbourne Cup.

Fellowes will be prepared to send the eight-year-old to Australia again, despite the new veterinary regulations which appear to have dissuaded many top European trainers from considering the long journey this year.

But before sanctioning the inevitable high costs for a venture which has previously resulted in two third places and a runner-up spot – promoted from third – over the last three years at Flemington, the Newmarket trainer needs to see evidence in the September Stakes that “the real Prince Of Arran” is back.

Fellowes reports Prince Of Arran has not shown anything like the necessary form since finishing third in the Cup in 2020, at home or in three starts on the track, to warrant an attempt to add to his famous big-race record in November.

Unlike other high-profile trainers – such as Aidan O’Brien and former winner Charlie Appleby – Fellowes has nominated to run again at this stage, as one of 15 possible British or Irish participants.

They include Joseph O’Brien’s 2020 winner Twilight Payment and Martyn Meade’s Irish Derby runner-up Lone Eagle.

The consensus is that enhanced veterinary checks on overseas challenges – resulting from an inquiry, following the death of Ballydoyle’s Anthony Van Dyck in last year’s race – have dissuaded many from making the expensive journey.

Fellowes acknowledges that factor, but will make an exception for Prince Of Arran – if he returns to form at Kempton.

He said: “I am (put off by the new regulations) – and I think if I had a horse that had never been over there, but I thought would suit the race, I wouldn’t have nominated.

“But at the end of the day, I have to do what is right by the owners and the horse. He has a very good record in Australia, and we’re not racing for peanuts down there. We’re racing for very, very good prize-money – more than he could win staying up here.

“So I think it’s only right that we enter and then see.

“If I had an unproven horse in Australia, I wouldn’t be doing it, I wouldn’t be going down (because of the new regulations) – but just because I’ve got a horse that absolutely loves it over there, it makes sense to have a go.”

Fellowes warns nonetheless, that unless he improves on his current form, Prince Of Arran will not be embarking again on a trip which – as well as his Melbourne Cup heroics – has previously also yielded a 2019 victory in the Geelong Cup and success in the Lexus Stakes a year earlier.

He said: “I’m not going to send him down if I don’t think he can go and run as well as he has in previous years. If we’re going down there, we’re going to go to win – we’re not going down there to throw a dart at the board.

“I think September Stakes is D-Day, proper D-Day – because I think, if he doesn’t fire at Kempton, I’d probably suggest that we’ll be looking at retirement full stop.

“The facts are that he is not in good enough form at the moment to warrant a trip to Australia – and he’s going to have to prove his well-being up here before I even think about sending him on a plane down there.”

Martyn Meade's Lone Eagle is among the 15 British and Irish-trained horses who have been nominated for this year's Melbourne Cup
Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle is among the 15 British and Irish-trained horses who have been nominated for this year’s Melbourne Cup (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Prince Of Arran has finished an honourable third in the Group Three September Stakes for the past two years, before heading to Australia.

Fellowes added: “The plan is to run in the September Stakes at Kempton – which is his usual prep race – and that will tell us what sort of form he’s in.

“Twelve furlongs is short of his best, but he absolutely loves Kempton. If he can run a nice race there, then we’ll seriously consider going into quarantine for Australia.”

The alternative is likely to be the end of a remarkable career which has yielded six victories, a string of admirable efforts in defeat and racked up many thousands of air miles.

“He owes us nothing more,” said Fellowes.

“He came back from Australia last year a very different horse to previous years. He ran in the Caulfield Cup and then the Melbourne Cup – he was bitterly unlucky in both races, and had very hard races in the process, and I think it really took its toll mentally.

“That’s why we’ve really taken our time (since) – I’ve barely raced him. I felt he was lacklustre both at Kempton, then Saudi, and I suppose Ascot (fifth in the Sagaro Stakes) as well.

“He just doesn’t look his usual self.

“If the real Prince Of Arran doesn’t turn up at Kempton in the September Stakes, then I think a horse who owes us nothing, has won £2million in prize money and been an absolute star … if he’s had enough, he’s had enough.

“The problem is the costs involved of going down there are so high you couldn’t send a horse that wasn’t absolutely flying and just roll the dice because he’s got a good record in Australia.

“He has a good record at Ascot; he has a good record at Kempton – and he hasn’t fired there this year. So why on earth (in his current form) would he go down to Australia and fire down there?

“It’s not fair on the owners who have trusted me with this horse for eight years and who have been amazing, and it’s not fair on the horse.”

Fellowes mounts twin assault on Stewards’ Cup

Charlie Fellowes is heading into the ultra-competitive Unibet Stewards’ Cup with two live chances as Chiefofchiefs and new recruit Ejtilaab line up for the Newmarket handler.

Chiefofchiefs has been a standing dish in races of this nature for a few seasons but bar a win in the Silver Wokingham, has a string of hard luck stories to his name.

On the other hand, Ejtilaab had been making great strides for Ian Williams before being moved to Fellowes recently and following wins at Epsom and Newcastle, he will be sent off among the favourites.

“I don’t know much about Ejtilaab, I’ve done very little with him,” said Fellowes.

“He’s a good-looking horse and you’d think the track would suit him as he’s won over six at Epsom. Hopefully they’ll go a good gallop.

“We’ve never run Chiefofchiefs at Goodwood. He’s been a bit unlucky this year as the rain has come on both his starts and although he has form on soft, I’m certain he’s better on a sounder surface. I wouldn’t want too much rain for him.

“He loves a big field, he’s a very talented horse and he could go well.”

The draw is always a huge talking point in these big sprints and Fellowes’ pair were both drawn out early, with the trainer choosing 25 for Ejtilaab and 19 for Chiefofchiefs.

“We went high with both of them because a lot of early pace came out high and there’s not a huge amount of pace in the race, so we wanted to follow where the speedier horses were. Luckily a few of the forward-going horses went high,” said Fellowes.

Atalanta’s Boy absolutely loves it at Goodwood
Atalanta’s Boy absolutely loves it at Goodwood (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

David Menuisier’s Atalanta’s Boy is definitely a course specialist as a four-times distance winner at Goodwood, but his only defeat in Sussex came in this race 12 months ago.

“Apart from the Stewards’ Cup, he’s unbeaten at Goodwood – and I think the course-and-distance record is very important there,” said Menuisier.

“He missed the break in the race badly last year, (but) I’d like to think if he gets away this time he’d run a massive race.

“He’s all fine. At Epsom (in June), the track didn’t suit him.

“Even though he’s a Goodwood specialist, Epsom is quite different because you go downhill straightaway on the turn – and that’s the thing he didn’t like.

“Then the last day at Windsor, he did what he has done once or twice in the past (got left), which is very infuriating. We’ve been trying to work on this to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“But he’s six, so it doesn’t always apply with horses of that age. So we’ll keep our fingers firmly crossed he doesn’t do it again. He’ll have a bit of help in the starting stalls, which I hope might make the difference.”

Richard Fahey last won the race in 1998 with Superior Premium, one of his first major winners. This year he runs Mr Lupton, a stable stalwart and winner of over £660,000 in prize money. He will break from stall two.

“I shouldn’t really say this, but I’ve seen tougher Stewards’ Cups, so hopefully we’ve done well with the draw. Mr Lupton is in good form and we’re hopeful of a good performance,” said Fahey.

“Everyone went high early on in the draw and then there was a difference of opinion in terms of going low. I didn’t want to be in the middle so that’s why I went low.

“I think everything in racing is luck and what you don’t need in racing is bad luck.”

Meraas is one of two runners for Mark Johnston
Meraas is one of two runners for Mark Johnston (Tony Knapton/PA)

Mark Johnston’s pair of Desert Safari and Meraas were the first two out of the hat and he went high with both.

“Obviously a lot of people went for high numbers early on. I didn’t choose the rail as there is a danger when you’re on the rail that you can get stuck out and trapped in behind when the field come across in front of you.” said Johnston.

“I opted for 26 with Desert Safari and 24 with Meraas. Both horses are in good form. Desert Safari is not a horse who is going to be up towards the pace, so he will possibly have traffic problems and hopefully he can extricate himself.

“I’ve never won the Stewards’ Cup and generally these are not my favourite races as lady luck plays such a key part in it. I prefer races where the form outs.”

Fellowes eyes two ‘cracking chances’ in York’s Summer Stakes

Charlie Fellowes will have two shots at success when he saddles both Onassis and Vadream for the Group Three Summer Stakes at York.

It is Vadream who heads the market for the Newmarket trainer, having finished sixth in the 1000 Guineas and then third in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot – beaten just two lengths by Creative Force.

The Brazen Beau filly was also a winner on her racecourse debut at Newcastle in November, over the six-furlong trip to which she returns on Friday.

Fellowes has high hopes for both his contenders in an 11-strong field.

“It’s pretty hard to split the two of them if I’m honest,” he said.

“Vadream ran a blinder at Ascot, and proved she handles the (softer) ground.

“She travelled as well as anything in the race, and we just felt she emptied in the last half a furlong, so we don’t think the drop back to six will be a problem at all.

“She’s by a very quick stallion in Brazen Beau and out of a mare that’s by Shamardal – and the ground should be perfect for her, so she’s going to go there with a great chance.”

Onassis made her seasonal debut at Royal Ascot when finishing 10th in the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.

“Onassis ran a funny race at Ascot – I’ve never thought a mile was her trip,” added Fellowes.

“She won the Sandringham (over a mile at Royal Ascot last year) but she was off a mark of 81 back then, (and) taking on Group Two fillies is a different kettle of fish.

“She travelled like a dream that day. I believe she traded at a very short price in running, so she’s got tons of speed and was only beaten two and a half lengths in a Champions Sprint last year – if she produces that form again she’ll be going very close.

“She’ll go on absolutely everything – she’s won on bottomless at Goodwood and at Ascot, and the Champions Sprint was on bottomless ground, and she’s won on a road out in France. So ground-wise, she can go on anything.

“(They have) two cracking chances – both fillies really deserve a Group win, and I’m looking forward to it.”

William Haggas’ Light Refrain, owned and bred by the Queen, is also well-fancied – having already gained Listed form over six furlongs when winning the Kilvington Stakes at Nottingham in May.

Dandalla represents trainer Karl Burke, after finishing fourth  in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, with Declaring Love also lining up for John Butler following her fourth-placed finish in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.

Final Song runs for Saeed Bin Suroor and Godolphin; Kevin Ryan runs both Last Empire and Dexter Belle, and Adrian Nicholls’ Mo Celita looks to return to winning ways after her five-race successful streak was ended at Ascot.

Richard Fahey’s Ventura Diamond and Stuart Williams’ Queen Kahlua complete the line-up.

Fellowes fears Melbourne Cup changes may rule out European challenge

Charlie Fellowes believes the changes to Melbourne Cup qualification criteria will make it “nigh on impossible” for European-trained horses to compete in Australia’s greatest race.

A series of new measures are to be brought in to combat what officials felt was an unacceptable rate of injuries and fatalities – mainly to overseas contenders.

The number of international horses permitted  at the Werribee International Quarantine Centre will be limited to 24 – down from 42 in 2018 – and those horses will be allowed just one run in Australia before their Cup challenge.

They will also have to undergo a series of tests before travelling, at their owners’ expense, have tests once they arrive in Australia and comply with pre-race checks while in quarantine.

Prince Of Arran has taken Fellowes all around the world
Prince Of Arran has taken Fellowes all around the world (Mathea Kelley/JCSA)

Any horse who has suffered a previous fracture will be denied the opportunity, as will those who have undergone orthopaedic surgery.

Fellowes has enjoyed great success with Prince Of Arran in Australia, who has been placed in the race three times as well as winning the Lexus Stakes and the Geelong Cup.

He said: “I completely understand that changes had to be made. I get that this wonderful race is under pressure from animal welfare groups, which I have seen at first hand on my trips.

“Yes it is a minority, but we see them when we do the parade and something had to be done. For that, I feel very sorry for the RV (Racing Victoria) and the organisers because they’ve been put between a rock and a hard place.

“However, I feel they have been brutally unlucky and I worry that the measures outlined in the report that European-trained horses are going to have to pass are basically impossible.

“There are a few parts in the report that actually don’t make sense, and I feel incredibly sad that it will now be nigh on impossible to take a horse down there – and I have loved every minute of my trips to Australia.”

Fellowes fears it could have a major impact on the number of horses leaving the UK to race permanently in Australia, too.

He added: “I think it is potentially disastrous for European trainers, because any horse deemed good enough to run in the Melbourne Cup will now be realistically moved to Australia to race – where they will not have to go through the same veterinary checks that they will if the same horse is with a European trainer.

“So, it will result in us losing more horses. John Gosden’s comments recently of Britain turning into a nursery for other racing jurisdictions rings even truer this morning – and I think it is a very sad day.

“It really is the most wonderful race and it is incredibly sad what has happened. I believe there are other changes which could have been made that haven’t, that wouldn’t have restricted Europeans going there and would have helped prevent further injuries from happening.

“Look at Royal Ascot this year without the Australian sprinters. When they come they add so much to the meeting – and when they don’t it is to the detriment of Royal Ascot. That is why Ascot have a team who go around the world trying to get them to come and race in England, which is welcomed.

“It is very sad that it will not be happening to the Melbourne Cup.”

Charlie Fellowes eyeing Guineas bid with Vadream

Connections of Vadream are thinking of running the lightly-raced filly in the Qipco 1000 Guineas following her fine effort at Newbury on Sunday.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained daughter of Brazen Beau belied her odds of 50-1 to take third place behind Alcohol Free in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes, a race better known as the Fred Darling.

Vadream is now a top-priced 33-1 for the fillies’ Classic at Newmarket on May 2, though a final decision on her participation will be made closer to the race.

“We were delighted with that. She has taken the race really well,” Fellowes said.

“We haven’t made a firm decision yet, but we’re leaning towards letting her take her chance in the Guineas.

“That was only her second start, running against a pretty experienced, and a pretty decent, field. The race developed over on the far side. We could have probably done with something taking her into the race a little bit longer, but we were very pleased with her.”

Fellowes’ main worry is if Vadream will stay the mile. She made a winning debut over six furlongs and the Group Three at Newbury was over seven.

“She is very quick. That would be my only concern, whether she will stay the extra furlong, but there is only one Guineas,” said the Newmarket handler.

“The owner has bred her and we can always drop back in trip if we feel she doesn’t stay.

“We’re leaning towards the Guineas, but it’s not confirmed at the moment.”

Charlie Fellowes eyeing Group One campaign for Onassis

Charlie Fellowes is excited to have Onassis back in training and is looking forward to campaigning her in 2021.

The filly was thought to have been retired by owners Triermore Stud and the Honourable Peter Stanley after she finished a close sixth in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

However, the dual Listed and Royal Ascot winner has returned to Fellowes’ stables in Newmarket.

“She’s really good. She came back last week and looks fantastic. She has done very well. It looks like she’s filled out and put on plenty of condition. We’re very happy with her,” he said.

“She’s a very talented filly to win a Listed race under a penalty in that ground like she did last year at Goodwood. Then back it up five days later to be beaten about two and a half lengths in a Group One was a pretty remarkable.

“We’re delighted to have her back. She’s a very talented filly and Dubawi’s offspring seem to improve with age, so she could be really exciting this year.”

Although Fellowes has yet to confirm a programme for Onassis, he is hoping to aim high with Group One races, such as the Prix Maurice de Gheest and the Prix de la Foret, possible long-term targets.

“We have no plans at the moment, but I think she’s probably best at seven furlongs really, six and a half or seven,” he said.

“We might look at a Maurice de Gheest/Foret type year and fiddle around that.”

William Haggas seeking Lincoln history with Johan

William Haggas could rely on Johan to give him an outright record of five winners in the Unibet Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Yorkshire-born Newmarket trainer shares the winning-most tally along with Jack Robinson, who won the race four times between 1896 and 1910.

Haggas has taken the traditional curtain-raiser for the Flat turf season with High Low (1992), Very Wise (2007), Penitent (2010) and Addeybb (2018).

Johan will have to defy top-weight of 9st 10lb after 64 horses remained in the one-mile feature.

The four-year-old has not raced since being beaten in a Listed race at Kempton in November, won by Kinross, after which he was gelded.

Haggas said: “It’s unfortunate he’s got top weight, but that’s because he ran well on the all-weather at Chelmsford, although he didn’t run so well in the Listed race.

“He’s got plenty of weight, so we’ll see. He’s ready to go.”

A maximum field of 22 is allowed for the Lincoln, with the next 22 in the handicap going forward to the consolation race, the Spring Mile, on the same card.

Eastern World is ante-post favourite on the back of a comfortable success at Meydan in February. The four-year-old bids to give trainer Charlie Appleby a third win in the race after Secret Brief (2016) and Auxerre (2019). James Doyle, who has ridden the last two Lincoln winners, is booked to ride.

Other horses prominent in the market to stand their ground include Haqeeqy, who is due to run under the new joint banner of John and Thady Gosden, the Owen Burrows-trained Danyah and Richard Hughes’ Brentford Hope.

Charlie Fellowes is expecting a big run from King Ottokar.

“This has been the plan since the Balmoral (at Ascot) at the end of last year,” the Newmarket trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“He galloped on Sunday. Ben Curtis came and sat on him, who I hope is going to ride him at the weekend.

“It was a lovely piece of work and he feels like he is in really good form, to the extent where I’m going to take the visor off and just run him in a set of cheekpieces. I don’t think he needs the visor anymore. He’s back exactly where I want him.

“We’re looking forward to it, but I’ve said all along this is a Group horse. I still believe that and you need a Group horse when you’re trying to find the winner of a big handicap.

“I hope this horse’s day will come. He deserves it and would be great to see him win on Saturday.”

Prince primed for latest globetrotting assignment in Riyadh

Prince Of Arran was reported to be “spot on” for the $2.5million Red Sea Turf Handicap after working on the track at Riyadh on Wednesday.

The eight-year-old, who has placed in the Melbourne Cup for the last three years, went six furlongs in the hands of Aled Beech ahead of Saturday’s engagement.

The jockey is looking after the horse while Fellowes remains at home in Newmarket due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“He started at the finishing line, cantered away for two furlongs and then picked it up for the final six,” said Fellowes.

“Aled Beech, who is in Saudi Arabia with the horse and who went to Australia with him, just let him roll home the last two furlongs, just a nice stretch to get a blow into him, and he was very happy with him.

“Aled said Prince Of Arran had a nice blow walking home but cleared pretty quickly, which has really put him about spot on now for his race on Saturday. He’s taken the trip well, as you’d expect from a horse with as much travelling experience as he’s got.

“He’s been eating and drinking well and moving good, and his temperature has been pretty much spot-on since he landed. So it looks like everything so far has gone smoothly, which is great.”

Oxted warmed up for his run in the $1.5m Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint by going six furlongs on the dirt course.

The July Cup winner was partnered by trainer Roger Teal’s son, Harry, and appeared to take well to the surface.

“We just let him have a nice stretch forward this morning,” said the trainer.

“I thought he looked really good and Harry said he felt great on the surface. He came round the bend nicely – we kicked up a gear on the bend and he handled that all right.

“He went six (furlongs) and Harry built it up as he went along. He quickened into the bend and let him freewheel around the turn and then for the last furlong let him have a good stride out. We were very happy with that.”