Fellowes so proud of Prince Of Arran after British raider excels in defeat again
Prince Of Arran was not quite able to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup but in defeat he further cemented his place in the hearts of local fans with a silver medal display that left trainer Charlie Fellowes beaming with pride.
Having passed the post in third – as he did 12 months ago – the British challenger was promoted to second following the demotion of Master Of Reality. That meant a huge difference in prize-money, with the stewards' decision doubling the wonderfully game six-year-old's earnings to £607,734.81.
Although Fellowes saw his stable star finish only a head and a nose behind Vow And Declare, he was in no way ruing what might have been, but rather celebrating the achievement of a stayer whose 2020 campaign will revolve around another Australian mission.
"What a horse!" said Fellowes. "To do that two years in a row is remarkable – but this time I never felt we were going to win it. I always felt Vow And Declare had us, although in the last five yards I realised we were a lot closer than I had thought.
"I'm not disappointed. I'm incredibly happy and I'm really proud. He has run so well and we came so close again. He is six years old and still improving. He's a laid-back horse who only ever does enough, so hopefully we can have a few more years of racing with him."
Fellowes – who revealed Prince Of Arran has received an invitation to run in the Japan Cup on November 23 – added: "Providing the horse is okay, plan A is to come straight back here again. The Melbourne Cup will be his number-one target. Next year I won't run him in the Herbert Power and instead we'll go via either the Caulfield Cup or the Geelong Cup before coming here.
"He's such an intelligent, perceptive horse and Michael Walker is a very confident jockey. The horse feels his confidence. I'm convinced that makes a difference. He has never given him a bad ride and he has given him another peach."
Some time after those warm words were spoken Walker was suspended for seven meetings and fined A$10,000 (£5362/€6206) for overuse of the whip approaching the 100-metre marker. Jockeys are allowed five strikes of the whip up to the half-furlong pole in Australia but Walker was reprimanded after using his whip 12 times prior to that point.
Walker said in the stewards’ inquiry: "I thought I was going to win my first Melbourne Cup and everything went out the window, including my style and thoughts. I broke the rules."
Last year's Melbourne Cup champion Cross Counter was far from disgraced in eighth, with William Buick reporting his Godolphin mount had run "a huge race". The defending champion finished fast in the closing stages but for a number of the other leading contenders the early pace was not fast enough.
One such sufferer was Ebor winner Mustajeer, who beat only the injured Rostropovich. "They just went ridiculously slow and it didn’t suit my horse," said rider Damien Oliver, while Jamie Spencer delivered similar comments after finishing 16th on Raymond Tusk. "We had a beautiful position but the race was too slow," he said.
Japan's Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace came home strongly to grab sixth and ran a "massive race" according to jockey Damian Lane, while after finishing seventh on 15-2 favourite Finche Kerrin McEvoy said: “He ran great but I would have liked them to go a bit quicker."
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