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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.

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.

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.”