By Graham Clark/Jockey Club Racecourses
GB: Charlie Fellowes’s serial Melbourne Cup place-getter Prince Of Arran could be facing retirement unless he shines on his next start in the September Stakes at Kempton next month.
The eight-year-old gelding was among 174 entries for the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday but a fourth appearance in Australia’s biggest race depends on how he performs in the Kempton G3 on September 4.
Prince Of Arran, a popular horse in Australia where he has finished third, second and third in successive Melbourne Cups and won both the Geelong Cup and Lexus Stakes, has not run since beating just one rival in the G3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April, after which he suffered a setback.
Fellowes said: “We have given Prince Of Arran an entry in the Melbourne Cup but he needs to up his game to consider going to Australia.
“He has very good form around Kempton Park and it makes sense to run him at a track we know he loves.
“Although the mile and a half is short of his best nowadays he has run well in it the last couple of years so the plan is to go back to the September Stakes.
“The plan was to go to the Northumberland Plate but he met with a setback three weeks before that so we had to miss it. We decided to give him the time off and aim him straight at the September Stakes.
“He is ticking away and he seems much better in himself now than he did at the start of the year. We will start galloping him this week but I don’t expect to see much from him in his first few pieces of work.
“If he runs well at Kempton then we will probably go to Australia again but if he doesn’t then we will probably call it a day. He has been the horse of a lifetime and he owes us absolutely nothing so we are not going to force the issue with him.”
Restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus the introduction of stringent new vetting procedures in order to run at Flemington, have made the trip to Victoria a much bigger challenge for internationals this year.
Fellowes added: “I’d love to go to the Melbourne Cup again as who knows when I will get another chance to run a horse in the race but we are not going to go just for the sake of it.
“It would be unfair on the horse and the owner (Saeed bel Obaida) who has been a supporter of mine since day one.
“We have got to do what is right by the horse and we are not going to roll the dice for the sake of it.
“It is an expensive trip and with all the new vet testing in place it has to be worth it as there are a lot of hoops to jump through.”
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