Prince Of Arran (Image: Racing Photos)
Trainer Charlie Fellowes believes this month's Ebor Handicap (2785m) at York looms as the 'perfect race' for his Lexus Melbourne Cup placegetter Prince Of Arran.
Last year’s Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) winner at Flemington is set to return to Australia for a second tilt at the Lexus Melbourne Cup but not before contesting the £1 million (A$1.8m) Ebor on August 24.
The Ebor is Europe's richest flat handicap race and is set to attract a strong, capacity field of 22 starters, which Fellowes believes will suit his horse.
"A mile-six (2800 metres) is his trip and a big field really suits him with a strong pace," Fellowes told Racing TV.
"His best races have come in the Northumberland Plate and Melbourne Cup and they were big fields."
"Hopefully everything should be ideal for him as it looks a quality line-up and almost like the English version of the Melbourne Cup, although I'd be surprised if there are horses quite as good as Cross Counter and Marmelo in there."
Prince Of Arran is winless from four starts since last year's Lexus Melbourne Cup third placing and resumed from an extended break in the G3 Glorious Stakes (2412m) during Glorious Goodwood on August 2, finishing last of five in a race won by Desert Encounter.
The odds-on favourite in the Glorious Stakes, Mirage Dancer, finished runner-up, has since been purchased by Australian owners and will soon join the Cranbourne-based Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
Fellowes was satisfied with Prince Of Arran's return run in the Glorious Stakes, eased down over the concluding stages by James Doyle to finish 14.25 lengths behind the winner.
"We were pretty happy with Prince Of Arran and we didn't expect much more. It is harder getting these older horses fit and running him that day at Goodwood was like three pieces of work," he said.
"We knew that the mile-and-a-half there would be too sharp and although a lot of things were against him, he did great.
"He travelled great and he was in the mix until a furlong out when the others quickened past him. I'm delighted he went up there as that should hopefully put him spot on for York."
Weights for the Ebor Handicap were released in late July, with Prince Of Arran given nine stone and two pounds (58kg).