Charlie Fellowes has identified next month’s MBNA Chester Vase as a possible option for King Ottokar en route to the Investec Derby.
The mile-and-a-half Group Three contest on May 8 has been earmarked by the Newmarket trainer for the son of Motivator, who is as short as 16-1 for the Epsom Classic.
Having finished down the field in a Group One at Doncaster on his final start last season, King Ottokar restated his Classic claims when he ran out an impressive winner of a conditions event at Newbury on his return this month.
Fellowes said: “We will let him tell us when he is ready to run, because he is a big colt, but we are slightly dictated by the ground as we won’t run him on really quick ground.
“I think the Dante is too close to the Derby – and Lingfield, you rarely get cut in the ground – and you are more likely to get cut at Chester, because it doesn’t dry out as quick.
“He will have an entry in the Dee Stakes, but I’m leaning more towards the Chester Vase on a track like that.
“It was a professional performance at Newbury the last day. He did everything brilliantly – he travelled, settled and had no problems staying the mile and a quarter.”
Fellowes’ stable star Prince Of Arran will be aimed at the Ebor at York in August on his return to action – before attempting to go two places better than last year in the Melbourne Cup.
The gelded son of Shirocco produced a dirty scope after beating only one home on his most recent start in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.
“He scoped badly after the Dubai Gold Cup and he was clearly not himself,” said Fellowes.
“He will probably come back in early May, and we will just creep along with him.
“I’ve got the Ebor as Plan A for him, and that is the obvious starting point. Going back out to Australia for the Melbourne Cup is the main aim.”