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.”