Charlie Fellowes believes Prince Of Arran has captured the hearts of racing fans in Australia as he prepares for his second shot at the Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
Having finished third in the ‘race that stops a nation’ 12 months ago, the globe-trotting six-year-old will bid to go two places better in the Group One showpiece next week.
The gelded son of Shirocco secured his place in the line-up for the prestigious two-mile prize after picking up the penalty he required with victory in the Geelong Cup.
Fellowes said: “They have definitely taken to him over there, and he has a real following out there.
“I think the reason he is so popular is they like the story that goes with him.
“They are comparing him to Red Cadeaux, which is a huge compliment. He finished second in the race three times, but hopefully we can go one better on Tuesday.”
Reflecting on Prince Of Arran’s latest Group Three success, Fellowes believes it should have put him spot on for the Flemington feature.
He added: “It was a good performance in the Geelong Cup. He was on the pace throughout and he had enough up his sleeve to hold off the Willie Mullins horse at the end.
“It was a very good run in a race that is traditionally a good trial for the Melbourne Cup, so I hope it will set him up perfectly for the big one.
“He carries a kilo more than last year – that won’t make a difference, and the draw won’t be an issue with the long straight there.”
The Newmarket handler admits there will be more nerves compared to 12 months ago, when Prince Of Arran only booked his place in the race with victory at the track in the Lexus Stakes just three days earlier.
He added: “I’m very relaxed at the moment, but I will be nervous before the race.
“Last year I wasn’t nervous at all, because we felt it was all against him – we had a lot of rain before the race and he only ran three days before the race.
“This year is different, and there will be a lot more nerves because there is more pressure and expectation.”