Tag Archive for: Marbaan

Fellowes trying to stay grounded with exciting Marbaan

Charlie Fellowes is keeping options open for Marbaan, impressive winner of the Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on Tuesday.

The progressive colt came with a well-timed run under Jamie Spencer to land the Group Two contest and Fellowes is keen to keep the son of Oasis Dream at seven furlongs after giving him a break.

The Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster are the two most favoured options for Marbaan, winner of the last three of his four careers starts and who is as short as 20-1 with some bookmakers for next season’s 2000 Guineas.

Fellowes said: “I am trying to keep my feet on the ground with this one and didn’t quite make it to cloud nine.

“He has come through it really well and could not have taken it better. He has eaten everything since his run and trotted up perfectly the morning after.

“He had a couple of very easy days and had a very gentle hack canter on Friday morning. We will probably start building him up next week, I guess.”

The Newmarket handler is now planning to give the Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum-owned colt a little time off, following his half-length defeat of Chesham winner Holloway Boy.

Marbaan proved his class at Goodwood
Marbaan proved his class at Goodwood (Steven Paston/PA)

“He has run four times already and there is no race for him for a while, so I think, as long as he will let me, I will give him as easy a time as I possibly can, just get some weight back on him and give him a bit of time to fill out and grow,” said Fellowes.

As for Marbaan’s two future targets, both of which are in September, he added: “I think we really have only two options – option one is to go and carry a penalty in the Champagne on a track that would really suit him – but you are carrying a penalty in a Group Two when you have already won a Group Two. What does it achieve?

“Alternatively, we go out to the National Stakes and take on the might of Aidan O’Brien and Joseph O’Brien and Donnacha O’Brien, and some other exceptionally good trainers, on their own turf.

“There is nothing really in France for him until the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (on Arc weekend). The Curragh would really suit him. Seven (furlongs) is perfect and he’d love to get his toe in a little bit.

Charlie Fellowes admits he has a nice problem
Charlie Fellowes admits he has a nice problem (Mike Egerton/PA)

“If the National looked horrible and a couple of absolute worldies came out to run, then maybe we dodge it and we’d think about staying at Donny, and maybe then go to the Dewhurst or the Lagardere at the end of the year.

“It will probably between those two, but what a lovely, lovely problem to have.”

Marbaan has provided a fillip a yard that has been lighter than expected on numbers this season. The victory took Fellowes’ domestic tally to 18 winners, six fewer than at the same time last term.

He added: “The horses have run very consistently well all year, but we just don’t have the numbers that we thought we were going to have. We had the best year we have ever had last year – two Group winners, finished in the top 30 in owners’ prize-money and I thought we’d be starting this year with at least 90 in our yard.

“But, for whatever reason, that didn’t happen and we ended up with about 30 less than I was expecting to have, and we had a couple of really rather frustrating injuries through the first part of the year that put us on the back foot a little bit.”

There have also been some irritating near-misses. Grand Alliance was a prime case in point, he looked likely to provide Fellowes with a Royal Ascot winner before hanging and being denied a short head by Changingoftheguard in the King Edward VII Stakes.

“It has been a bit of a frustrating first part of the year, compounded by Grand Alliance throwing away that race at Royal Ascot. It is a funny game, racing,” added the 35-year-old.

“I think the two-year-olds are pretty smart, though. There are more where he came from – they may not quite as good as Marbaan is, but there are a few who would not be a million miles behind him. We are looking forward to them.”

Vintage performance from Marbaan promises much

The progressive Marbaan and Jamie Spencer came with a wet sail to land the Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

The Charlie Fellowes-trained son of Oasis Dream had won two novice races after a promising Newbury debut third, and confirmed his eyecatching Salisbury win as he stepped up into Group Two company.

Mysterious Night took them into the turn in the seven-furlong event under William Buick and it looked like Chesham winner Holloway Boy and Danny Tudhope had every move covered.

However, after he swept to the front half a furlong out, the 11-8 favourite was immediately challenged by Marbaan, who was still full of running, with the 14-1 chance going on to win by a cosy half a length.

Betfair introduced the winner at 20-1 for the 2000 Guineas, and Spencer said: “I knew down by the three-furlong pole that I was running away and Danny on Holloway Boy was starting to squeeze so I just timed my run. He is a gorgeous looking horse and I’m sure he’ll stay a mile.”

Newmarket-based Fellowes spoke of his relief afterwards, admitting: “I didn’t enjoy a huge amount of it if I’m completely honest.

“We’ve always thought a lot of Marbaan and it was a real boost over the winter to be sent horses by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum. He has stood out from the get go.

“He was a really good looking yearling who has just progressed and progressed. We put him in at the deep end today and I loved it when we got drawn nine of nine which is exactly what you want to see!

“We’ve had a rough season, but to have a winner at Goodwood for such an important owner on a wonderful day of racing is phenomenal and means a huge amount to me and the team who have worked unbelievably hard and it was a wonderful ride from Jamie.

“Training at the moment is as difficult as it ever has been. There is a lot of competition as well and a lot of talented young trainers coming through as well. This for some reason has been a hard year for us, but all credit to the team who have kept on delivering and hopefully we can have a big second half of the year.”

Looking to future plans, Fellowes added: “I’ve genuinely got no idea where we’ll go, I’ll sit down and take a breath. He was a novice winner just half an hour ago. We’ve always thought a lot of him, making any further plans was always going to be difficult.

“I put him in the Champagne (Stakes, Doncaster) this morning, he’s in the National Stakes in Ireland. There are lots of lovely options for him. He now warrants a trip anywhere.

Holloway Boy winning at Royal Ascot
Holloway Boy winning at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

“I’ll speak to Sheikh Ahmed and his team. He’s a wonderfully straightforward horse, which makes my life easier. You can ride him any way, we dropped him in today but you don’t have to ride him like that. Hopefully he’ll make my life easy going forward.

“I’ve got three for him (Sheikh Ahmed) and to have to have one as good as him is huge, it really is.”

Holloway Boy, meanwhile, was proving there was no fluke about his 40-1 win at Royal Ascot.

His trainer Karl Burke said: “He ran really well. He got messed around a little bit in the run early doors, which didn’t help. He has pulled a front right shoe off as well, which again wouldn’t have helped him. But from three out, no excuses, the winner just had a little bit more turn of foot.

“Danny says he feels like a top-class horse. He has a great cruising speed, he just lacks that little bit of speed at the important end of the race. But he’s run a great race and all credit to the winner for cutting us down.”