By Jon Lees
GB: Charlie Fellowes reports his globetrotting stable star Prince Of Arran is “spot on” to make the next stopover on his tour of the world’s most lucrative long-distance events.
The 2019 Melbourne Cup runner-up races more times overseas than he does in Britain and there will be no change in 2020 as he launches his campaign in Saudi Arabia where he will contest the $2.5 million Longines Turf Handicap on February 29.
Though trained in Newmarket, Prince Of Arran has a big following in Australia where he has won the Geelong Cup and Lexus Stakes during consecutive Melbourne Cup campaigns which have climaxed in a second behind Vow And Declare and a third to Cross Counter, whom he will meet again in Riyadh.
The seven-year-old will be among a handful of runners from Britain also including the Ed Walker-trained Royal Intervention, who set off this weekend to contest the 1351 Turf Sprint. US challengers are already on the grounds of the King Abdulaziz racecourse.
In his latest blog post, Fellowes said: “Prince Of Arran did his final piece of work on Friday ahead of his crack at the Longines Turf Handicap in Saudi Arabia next Saturday and he is in great form.
“We went for a racecourse gallop at Chelmsford last week which went really well and he then did a piece of work on Monday and he is spot on for the race. He looks great and Stevie Donohoe has been riding him in his work and says he is as good as he has ever felt him.
“James Doyle will ride him in the race which is great as he knows the horse well and also the course well, which I thought was really important. It is going to be a really strong race.
“Cross Counter is favourite, who we beat out in Melbourne in November, but there is a big weight difference this time.
“We have got the likes of Dee Ex Bee, who is a very good horse, and a couple of good ones from France, Call The Wind and Called To The Bar, so it is going to be a really, really strong race.
“I feel like the conditions will suit him. You couldn’t really write a better race for him – just short of two miles, flat, left-handed, nice big galloping track and I have no doubt he will love it. I am really looking forward to it.”
Fellowes praised the organisation of the Saudi Cup meeting, which takes place for the first time this year with its feature race the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race.
He said: “They have done really well to promote it and obviously it is a new concept so they are going to be throwing everything they have at it to make it a meeting that people want to come back to.
“There were doubts from some people about whether it was going to be ready on time, but it has come together seemingly very quickly and I think the trials went really well the other day. It’s potentially a new big meeting for us Flat people to target.”