Fellowes banking on stable stalwart Prince Of Arran for landmark success
Charlie Fellowes believes it would be fitting if his globe-trotting stable star Prince Of Arran could deliver him a first Group-race victory in Britain in the Betway Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle on Saturday.
The Newmarket handler hopes last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up can finally end his wait for a breakthrough Pattern-race victory on home shores in the Group Three contest, which has been switched from Ascot this year.
Unlike many of his rivals the much-travelled seven-year-old has already had one outing this year, when finishing third in a valuable handicap company in Saudi Arabia back in February.
Fellowes said: “It would be very fitting if Prince Of Arran with Stevie Donohue on board could give me my first Group winner in Britain.
“He has had a really good prep and this has been the plan for a long time. The fact it has been delayed a couple of weeks is no problem and we know it is a track he likes, which is important to the horse.
“There is a lot in there with a chance and most are very evenly matched, but we hope it falls right with us. He has been in flying form.”
He added: “This is a prep for the Gold Cup and I know that is a bit close, but he has proven in Australia he can back up quickly.”
Ispolini ended last season on a winning note with victory in the German St Leger and his trainer Charlie Appleby is confident he can continue where he left off.
He said: “Ispolini has not been since winning the German St Leger, but he is in great order at home. His home work is good and I think he is a big player at the weekend.
“It is a sensible race to go for and he will certainly not look out of place. I expect him to be bang up there.”
Royal Line will attempt to fill a rare gap on the CV of John Gosden by giving him a first victory in the two-mile prize.
His jockey Robert Havlin said: “ I won a Group Three on him on the all-weather so we know he likes that surface.
“It is riding pretty slow at Newcastle and that will suit him, as he is a horse that loves deep ground on the grass. I’m looking forward to getting back on him.
“I don’t know what happened at Kempton last time, but at Ascot (Long Distance Cup on Champions Day) he was one of the last horses off the bridle and he probably just got outclassed. This is not that class of race and he goes there with every chance.”
St Leger third Nayef Road is one of three runners in the race for trainer Mark Johnston, who claimed the prize 12 months with subsequent Gold Cup runner-up Dee Ex Bee.
Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: “He has had a probably less than ideal first half of the year in that he was trained quite aggressively through February and March with Dubai in mind and was raring to go.
“He had a bit of an easy time through April and now we are trying to get going again, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he improved a little bit for the run.”
Stablemate Mildenberger will be out to make it a hat-trick of wins since the turn of the year having posted victories at Lingfield and Chelmsford before racing was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnston went on: “He was having a good winter until we stopped. I think he is better with a lead in these all-weather races. He was making his own running and it was getting tactical and it wasn’t working out for him.
“It’s a shame he missed the marathon final on All-Weather Finals day, but he is good on the all-weather and two miles is ideal for him. He should have a very good chance.”
Completing the Middleham stables’s trio of runners is King’s Advice, who will be looking to bounce back from a below-par effort in Saudi Arabia.
Johnston added: “He was a bit disappointing in Saudi Arabia, but that was us just rolling the dice for £2million which is understandable.
“He is working really well and Joe (Fanning) sat on him about 10 days ago and was very happy. He seems very well.
“He will have a much tougher year than last year as he is now running against the best stayers around, but he is in good form and conditions will suit.”
Alan King expects Rainbow Dreamer to have his work cut out in his bid for a four-timer, but hopes the race will act as a good prep run for a return to the track in next month’s Northumberland Plate.
King said: “We are under no illusions the task he faces as he has got a lot to find on the ratings, but I just thought he could do with a run before going back for the Northumberland Plate as that is his next target.
“He has always been a good horse, but he did break down badly at Ascot once and it has taken us a long time to get him back. He really seems to love racing on a synthetic surface.”