Charlie Fellowes eyes Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle with Prince Of Arran

Fri 15 May 2020

Prince Of Arran could head to Newcastle for the Sagaro Stakes if it goes ahead as planned on June 6.

Racing is currently pencilled in to resume on June 1, subject to Government approval, with the British Horseracing Authority having unveiled its intended programme for the first eight days on Thursday evening.

The two-mile Sagaro, which is usually held at Ascot, is traditionally a trial for the Gold Cup at the Royal meeting and trainer Charlie Fellowes had already outlined the possibility of his dual Melbourne Cup-placed runner tackling the stayers’ showpiece.

The Royal fixture is currently in its original slot starting on June 16 and Fellowes would have no issues in backing up quickly with his charge, who also finished second in the 2018 Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

He said: “Newcastle is right up his street and he likes the all-weather, so I must admit my eyes did light up when I saw the Sagaro was there.

“He’s a seven-year-old now and in Australia he’s had a couple of prep runs before the big one and run really well, so I wouldn’t be worried about backing up into Royal Ascot.

“With him it’s 90 per cent about the track he’s running on. If he likes it that’s fine, but if he doesn’t he can disappoint and we know he likes Newcastle.”

The planned 10-furlong Classic Trial at Kempton on June 3 was also a source of delight for Fellowes, who is eyeing the Group Three heat for King Carney.

The son of Australia won the Listed Silver Tankard at Pontefract on his final start last term and could have his Classic hopes tested on the Polytrack.

Fellowes said: “When the original plan (for a restart in May) came through, the only Derby trials in the programme were the Dante, which would probably be a very hot race, and the Listed Newmarket Stakes at Newmarket.

“As a Listed winner, King Carney would have had to carry a penalty in that, but what we really wanted to do was find a Group race for him.

“He’s proven he likes to bowl along in front and he wouldn’t have a penalty in a Group Three. He’s won on soft ground, so the surface could suit him too.”

Fellowes believes the publishing of the provisional week of fixtures is a boost – but reports the mood in Newmarket to still be cautious with any restart dependent on Government clearance.

He said: “I think everyone is still on tenterhooks, we really don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I have to say, going to bed last night, I felt noticeably more positive.

“We have a date to work towards and we have a programme for the first week, with the second week coming in the next few days.

“That means we can at least sit down now, start going through the races, looking for opportunities and start to make some tentative plans.”

Should the official go-ahead be given to resume, Fellowes feels there will be no excuses if racing is not adequately prepared.

He added: “I’ve been reluctant to criticise the BHA throughout all of this as they have had to deal with something we have never seen in our lifetimes and make decisions in unprecedented times. I don’t envy them at all.

“We have a date from Government when sport can resume, obviously only as long as it is safe to do so, so the pressure is on the BHA to show that we can race safely and without risking the public in any way.

“There will be questions to answer if the Government gives the go-ahead on June 1 and we are not ready, but as far as I can see the plans are there and fingers crossed we will be back in action.”

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