With the turf flat racing season drawing to a close in Britain the attention now transfers to America, the Far East and on the first Tuesday in November, the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Last year Prince of Arran, trained by Newmarket based Charlie Fellowes finished 3rd behind Godolphin’s Cross Counter and has again been aimed at this year’s $4,400,000 first prize.
Our latest blog with Charlie’s help takes a look at Prince of Arran’s preparations for the Melbourne Cup and potential glory in this world famous Group 1 handicap race.
When did you start to plan Prince of Arran's attempt at this year's Melbourne Cup?
This has been his aim since he came third last year. Last year we hatched the plan in February after he won in Dubai
How do you identify a Melbourne Cup horse in view of the extra elements involved i.e travelling, the type of race, quarantine and the distance?
It’s very difficult, as shown by the number of European horses dropping out of the race this year. Primarily, you have to have a horse that will be suited by the conditions of the race. Then you worry about how they might take the travelling etc. There is no point going all that way to run in a race that is not suitable for the horse you are sending.
Would a suitable horse then have a light campaign in the UK and in his case how has it gone?
Completely depends on the horse. Prince of Arran ran all over the world last year (four times in Dubai, twice in England, once in America and three times in Australia) and still managed to finish third in the big one. It takes a very special horse to be able to do that. Some horses would definitely need a light campaign but you don’t want it to turn up in Australia needing the run.
What are the Quarantine rules before he leaves the UK?
He went into quarantine two weeks before travelling. Whilst there he galloped with Raheen House as I wanted to make sure he was fit as a fiddle by the time he travelled over. There were a lot of horses from all over England and Ireland in the quarantine yard.
What is the Process door to door, time from leaving Newmarket to arrival in Melbourne?
They flew from Stansted to Dubai. Stopped in Dubai for a few hours (had to stay on the plane) and then set off for Melbourne. All in all it took about 24 hours. Because he is owned by a friend of Sheikh Mohammed's he flew on one of his planes with all the Godolphin horses.
What are the quarantine rules on arrival at Werribee stables in Melbourne?
Exactly the same as in England. He has to complete two weeks quarantine before he was allowed to leave the yard
How do you decide whether to have a preparatory run and plan your schedule in Australia when you are not there yourself?
We knew we had to run as he is not high enough up the order of entry to get into the Melbourne Cup. All he has to do is win a race and the weight penalty he will get would be enough to put him in the race. The schedule is very easy as Racing Victoria send over all the options. I also worked in Australia for a year so I know the tracks and what might suit my horse.
Prince of Arran has subsequently had two promising runs in Australia. He was 2nd in the Herbert Power Stakes on October 12 followed by victory in the Geelong Cup on 23 October. The colt’s latter win was the fastest for 14 years in the Geelong Cup and his subsequent rise in his handicap mark has ensured his place in the Melbourne Cup.
Speaking to the Newmarket Journal this week before he travelled to Australia Charlie said "He has already won enough prize money to pay for the trip so the pressure is off. It will be a competitive Melbourne Cup but he is in good form and ready to run a big race.”
We would like to thank Charlie Fellowes for his help with this blog.
Photo courtesy of Newmarket Open Weekend.
Blog by Stephen Wallis, Visitor Services.