A Prince Of Arran winning the Lexus Stakes in 2018 (Image: Edward Whitaker)
Prince Of Arran is set to return to Australia for a second tilt at the Lexus Melbourne Cup after leaving trainer Charlie Fellowes 'delighted' with his effort in Saturday's £1 million (A$1.8m) Ebor Handicap (2787m) at York.
Fellowes also again intends to give the globetrotter three runs in Australia despite not chasing qualification into this year's $8m G1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) as opposed to last year.
Prince Of Arran ($34) finished eighth in the 22-horse field, beaten five lengths by Mustajeer ($17) in the Ebor - Europe's richest flat handicap race.
Last year's Lexus Melbourne Cup third placegetter held his ground just forward of midfield in a fast-run Ebor where the on-pacers collapsed and the swoopers came to the fore.
"I was delighted with his run in the Ebor," Fellowes said.
"He carried plenty of weight (60.5kg) and stayed on great to be beaten just five lengths.
"He managed to bruise a foot on Tuesday and spent 36 hours in his box this week so he did not have the ideal preparation!"
Prince Of Arran has been unplaced from all five starts since the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
However, the Ebor was just his second outing following a spell and the gelded son of Shirocco displayed tremendous improvement from his return run in the G3 Glorious Stakes (2414m) at Goodwood on August 3 - when clearly in need of the run - to his eighth in the Ebor.
Prince Of Arran gained entry into the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup field when he won the G3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on AAMI Victoria Derby Day and Fellowes says Prince Of Arran may defend his title in that race.
While three overseas-trained horses (Ruscello in 2013, Oceanographer in 2016 and Prince Of Arran in 2018) have won the Lexus Stakes, no overseas-trained horses already assured of a start in the Lexus Melbourne Cup have run in the race.
"The Ebor will be his last race in England and he will now head to Australia on the first shipment of horses," Fellowes said, alluding to the group of horses that arrive at Werribee's quarantine centre on September 28 and are free to race from October 12.
"From there we will probably head to the Herbert Power Stakes or the Caulfield Cup. We may then look at the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day again before the Melbourne Cup.
"I want to run three times in Australia as the prizemoney is fantastic and he loves it down there."
During the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival Prince Of Arran finished third to Yucatan and Brimham Rocks in the $400,000 G2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield before winning the $300,000 G3 Lexus Stakes and finishing third to Cross Counter and Marmelo in the $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.