Kiwi jockey and English trainer dreaming big
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.