Prince of Arran is reportedly coming back to his best ahead of a fourth and final shot at the Melbourne Cup.
The Charlie Fellowes-trained eight-year-old has finished in the places in the last three editions of the famous Flemington race, but retirement had been considered after below-par efforts at the start of 2021.
Fellowes feels Prince of Arran was not himself earlier in the campaign but all is well ahead of a warm-up run in the September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday.
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“He ran two huge races in Australia last year and didn’t win either of them,” Fellowes told Sky Sports Racing. “He was bitterly unlucky both times.
“In the Caulfield Cup he had a shocker of a draw and then in the Melbourne Cup he got caught in a pocket at the worst possible time.
“I think it’s taken him an awfully long time to get over that. He was just not the same horse in the spring. You could see that mentally he wasn’t in the right place.
“We’ve given him time, and to be honest, we didn’t know whether maybe he’d just had enough.
“But, we’ve prepared him for this race with a view to going to Australia and with every bit of work he has got better and better.
“Jamie Spencer sat on him on Saturday, having ridden him in the spring, and he genuinely couldn’t believe the difference in him. He said he feels like a two-year-old again. He’s much happier and more enthusiastic.
“It looks like a decent race [September Stakes] but he is a very good horse around Kempton and I’d just like to see him run well. If he does that, all options are open.”
Fellowes has begun the lengthy process of getting Prince of Arran through medical checks before his journey down under.
“He’s been through an awful lot but he’s an eight-year-old so he’s been through considerably more in his career and has taken it like a pro,” Fellowes said.
“It’s not cheap at all and it will bar a lot of people from going. It’s certainly going to hinder those romantic stories of the smaller owners.
“Luckily, Prince of Arran has won over £2m in prize-money so he’s covered the costs.
“It’s a huge undertaking and had we not had such a great record in Australia and without Prince of Arran’s previous experience I probably wouldn’t have put him through it.
“We know he loves Australia and takes all that in his stride so we’re happy to chance our arm and go down there one last time.”
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