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.”
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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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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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.
“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.”
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 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.
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.
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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.
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.”
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.”
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