Charlie Fellowes has full faith in King Ottokar as he bids to make his mark in the middle-distance division this year.
The four-year-old won a Newbury maiden at the start of last season, with the form working out incredibly well as both runner-up Dashing Willoughby and sixth-placed Headman went on to win Group races while the fourth, Space Blues, was twice placed in Group One company.
King Ottokar subsequently failed to fire when tried over a mile and a half in the Chester Vase, but redeemed himself when not beaten farin third by Sangarius in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He rounded off his campaign with an unlucky fifth in the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury, with Fellowes feeling it had been an error to drop back to a mile for that race.
He has been given an entry in the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland next month, but plans are fluid.
He said: “The plan this year had been to start in a race in France, as he is better with a bit of cut in the ground, but that race has now been and gone.
“I have a huge amount of faith in this horse.
“I think I made a mistake in dropping back to a mile at Salisbury with him, despite the fact he could well have won had he got a clear run.
“I think he’s a 10-furlong horse and he ran some good races last year – he had Headman behind him at Newbury, although he improved massively, and he wasn’t beaten far by Sangarius either.
“The Champion Stakes at the end of the season might be something to aim for, but obviously it is impossible to really plan at the moment.”
King Ottokar runs in the colours of Susan Roy, as does King Carney, who won two of his four juvenile starts last term, culminating with Listed glory at Pontefract.
Fellowes had hoped to run the Australia colt in a Derby trial, but the suspension of racing has obviously put those plans on ice, with the trainer now eyeing possible staying prizes, although he also had an Irish Derby entry in June.
He said: “We were going to start him in the Derby trial at Epsom as that was a ‘win and you’re in’ race for the big one, but that was cancelled.
“We were then going to enter him at the second stage for the Derby, but then the race was put on hold, so we don’t really know what we’re going to do now.
“I see him maybe as more of a stayer and he could be a proper horse over a mile and six furlongs or ever two miles.
“He’s by Australia and a lot of his better ones seems to stay, so while his dam ran over six, hopefully the Australia can come out in him.
“He might be a Queen’s Vase kind of horse, if Royal Ascot goes ahead.”