Dubai: Charlie Fellowes has made a habit of keeping himself in the best of company on his journey to become a race horse trainer. Assistant in Australia to Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman. must be high on Fellow’s CV, and of equal high-calibre will be his similar position in the all conquering stable of National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson.
The cake was duly iced with a five-year stint at the historic Pegasus Stables in Newmarket, home to the immensely successful husband and wife team of James and Jacko Fanshawe. What a list of horseman to be tutored by!
2014 saw the newly licensed trainer send out his first runner - a winner - and he topped off his freshman season with a trip State-side taking the two year old Wet Sail to Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. While that was maybe flying a bit high it is this type of ambitious drive that differentiates the great from the good in all walks of life.
Remember the name Charlie Fellowes for the future, particularly on the first Tuesday in the southern hemisphere of Australia. The “race that stops the nation” - The Melbourn Cup is a possible long term goal for Fellowes with his attractive bay horse Prince Of Arran. Lofty ambitions indeed but not without justification for the Saeed Al Obaida owned gelding who performed with a degree of alacrity in his first Meydan outing - EGA Al Taweelah Trophy- when he ran second to Los Barbados over 1mile and 6 furlongs back in January. He was beaten less than a length and improvement in fitness should be likely as he was coming back from a three month break. He was staying on well at the finish while not able to trouble the admirable winner.
Having been campaigned at Group 1 and 2 level last season in England he undoubtedly appreciated the drop in grade to a handicap. He has reportedly come out of that run great and is bubbly and bouncing each morning, all signs of a horse that is thriving here in the clement sunshine of Dubai.
Newmarket based Fellowes had this to say about his Dubai Gold Cup hope, “ He has always been a quirky horse and because of that there was a little bit of doubt whether or not it was right to send him over here [Dubai], if it did not work out it was going to look like a silly decision. But I had a gut feeling he would enjoy it out here. It was a really good first run, the track and the fast ground were always going to suit him, it was all about how he took to the trip. Thankfully he has thrived and seems to be getting stronger and stronger.”
Being a horse who likes to skip across a quick racing surface the wet English summer is against him - his best run last year being a good second in the Group 3 Longines Sagaro Stakes in one of the few two mile races held at Ascot. Although, as only a four year old he was no match for the gallant Big Orange in the Royal Ascot Gold Cup he looks like developing into a classy staying campaigner and it is likely that he will accumulate plenty of air miles this year.
Former jockey to Alan Bailey, Natasha Eaton is entrusted with his care while in Dubai and she is doing an admirable job worthy of that trust.
Prince of Arran’s next Carnival appearance will be on Thursday and that run will decide whether another is required to increase his official rating in line with Dubai World Cup night contenders.
— The author is a former trainer and mother of jockeys Sophine and James Doyle