Charlie Fellowes admits retirement could beckon for his “horse of a lifetime” Prince Of Arran should he fail to perform on his next start in the Unibet September Stakes at Kempton Park next month.
A fourth appearance in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November hinges on how well the evergreen eight year old performs in the mile and a half Group Three prize on Saturday 4th September, which he has finished third in for the past two years ahead of taking in a trip to Australia,.
Prince Of Arran has not been sighted since beaten just one rival home in the Group Three Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April after meeting with a setback in his build up towards the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in June.
The Newmarket handler reports the globetrotting Shirocco gelding to be “ticking over” at home ahead of starting more serious work on the gallops this week in preparation for his return to the racetrack.
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.”
Though Fellowes has raised the possibility of retirement for Prince Of Arran, who has finished third in the 2020 and 2018 renewals of the Melbourne Cup along with filling the runner-up slot in the 2019 contest, he admits it would be great if he could make it Down Under one last time.
He 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.
“This horse has been extremely important to me and unless a Derby horse comes my way, I’m unlikely to have a horse that has been so influential on my career.”