Saudi Arabia: Charlie Fellowes is plotting a return to Riyadh for the Saudi Cup meeting with his “dream horse” Prince Of Arran.
The eight-year-old – placed in the last three Melbourne Cups – finished third behind Call The Wind in the Long Distance Turf Handicap at the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting last year and is rated a 7-1 chance with bookmakers Ladbrokes to claim the $2.5m contest, run over 3,000 metres (1m7f) on February 20.
Call The Wind is their 5-2 favourite for a repeat victory, while US star Charlatan heads the firm’s Saudi Cup market on the 2-1 mark.
Trained in Newmarket by Charlie Fellowes, Prince Of Arran stormed home when a close third in the Melbourne Cup in November having finished runner-up the previous year and third in 2018.
“In the Melbourne Cup Jamie Kah had him in the perfect spot but we just got stuck behind a wall of horses,” said Fellowes.
“By the time he got out, up and running it was going to take a miracle to get there but he very nearly did it. It was another remarkable run.
“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” added the trainer. “We just try to enjoy every race with him. He’s taken me to places I could’ve only dreamt of having runners. He’s been incredible. He’s literally the dream horse.”
In finishing third in last year’s Long Distance Turf Handicap, Prince Of Arran collected $250,000. “He ran a great race last year,” said Fellowes.
“They went hard and he was probably closer to the pace than he needed to be. The first and second came from further behind him. My fella put in his usual solid performance so we’re looking forward to going back again.
“The prize-money is fantastic, and it looks like they will have a very good field. Last year’s first and second are entered in the race again and there are some decent stayers so it’s going to be a strong race.
“You could argue that my horse is as good as he’s ever been, even though he’s getting on a little bit, so we’ll go out there with another huge shout.”
Fellowes could give globetrotting Prince Of Arran, who has raced in America, Dubai and Hong Kong, as well as Saudi Arabia, Australia and Britain, a prep run before his likely return to Saudi Arabia.
“A run before Saudi might help us,” he said. “He loves Kempton, two miles round there is perfect and it’s a conditions race so he wouldn’t carry a stack load of weight.
“He could run there first and the two-week gap up to the Long Distance Turf Handicap is what he would do in Australia so we know it works.”
Ladbrokes have also started betting on the Saudi Cup, with US star Charlatan their 2-1 favourite ahead of Knicks Go and Mishriff on the 6-1 mark.
Ladbrokes: 2 Charlatan, 6 Knicks Go, Mishriff, 8 Swiss Skydiver, 10 Addeybb, Tacitus, 12 Code Of Honor, Matterhorn, Tax. 14 Chuwa Wizard, 25 bar.
Long Distance Turf Handicap
Ladbrokes: 5-2 Call The Wind, 6 Spanish Mission, True Self, 7 Ocean Wind, Prince Of Arran, 8 Secret Advisor, Ispolini, 16 Deja, Mekong, 33 Making Miracles.
• Visit the Saudi Cup website