Kiwi jockey and English trainer dream­ing big

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - Adam Pengilly

Char­lie Fel­lowes learned the Aus­tralian way un­der the man who sprin­kled the magic dust on Makybe Diva, and will now en­joy his own Mel­bourne Cup thrill, af­ter sweat­ing through a 13-minute de­lay to fix a faulty photo-fin­ish cam­era. The 32-year-old English trainer spent time with Lee Freed­man in Aus­tralia al­most a decade ago, but will look to carve his own cup his­tory af­ter se­cur­ing an 11th-hour spot in Aus­tralia’s great race with A Prince Of Ar­ran at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day. Ex­pat-Kiwi jockey Michael Walker burst clear on A Prince Of Ar­ran to hold off Brimham Rocks by half-a-length in the $360,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m), re­vers­ing the fin­ish­ing po­si­tions when the pair filled the plac­ings be­hind Yu­catan in the Her­bert Power Stakes. ‘‘That’s the big­gest win of my ca­reer to date,’’ beamed Fel­lowes, af­ter his tough stayer staved off Brimham Rocks. ‘‘It’s the first group win of my ca­reer. To win on a mas­sive day like to­day is huge. Get­ting into the cup is amaz­ing and now, hope­fully, we can en­joy the next cou­ple of days and build-up as much as we can.’’ A race renowned for drama given the high stakes on of­fer had an un­usual dose of it when tech­ni­cians re­alised the photofin­ish cam­era was down. The en­tire field had al­ready been loaded into the start­ing gates. It forced the starter to back the horses out of the stalls and favourite Brimham Rocks was reshod in the mean­time. But the race went al­most ex­actly as the mar­ket pre­dicted. Rac­ing Vic­to­ria’s chief hand­i­cap­per Greg Car­pen­ter elected not to pe­nalise A Prince Of Ar­ran for the win and he will carry 53kg un­der Walker in the cup. On the de­lay, Fel­lowes said: ‘‘I stood up there with my back lean­ing on the wall — yeah, it was painful. It came through a horse had spread a plate and the jockey had got off mine and I thought, ‘oh, please don’t be mine’. ‘‘At no point was that easy view­ing. We knew he would stay and, although he does get lazy in front, we knew if some­thing came at him he would pick up again. Luck­ily that hap­pened. If you’d told me we’d be stood here back in Jan­uary be­fore we went to Dubai I would have laughed at you. He’s al­ways been the ap­ple of my eye be­cause he’s a very good­look­ing horse. But he was a bit quirky as a young horse and I was wor­ried he wouldn’t ful­fil his po­ten­tial. This year he re­ally is do­ing what I hoped he would be able to do when he was younger. ‘‘I can’t be­lieve we’re in the big one on Tues­day.’’ An ex­hausted Walker low­ered his weight to ride at 52kg and was re­ly­ing on A Prince Of Ar­ran, which was swiftly in­stalled as a $13 fifth favourite with BetEasy, as his last roll of the Mel­bourne Cup dice. ‘‘I hit the front too early, but noth­ing was tak­ing me into the race, and in these stay­ing races, these Euro­pean horses keep go­ing,’’ Walker said. ‘‘He was pretty strong at the fin­ish and I’m look­ing for­ward to Tues­day.’’ Asked about turn­ing the ta­bles on warm cup favourite Yu­catan, Fel­lowes said: ‘‘It’s go­ing to be tough, but I think the ex­tra halfa-mile will suit us. ‘‘I don’t think my fella was get­ting tired. I think he was pulling up in front. Yu­catan, he’s a good horse and hope­fully the ex­tra trip and a clear run will help us.’’


A Prince Of Ar­ran and rider Michael Walker win the Lexus yes­ter­day.

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