Charlie Fellowes is banking on the equine George Scott to do him proud as he raises the stakes at Newmarket this weekend.
Fellowes and his fellow trainer and near neighbour George Scott have created confusion and amusement in near equal measure with their joint venture this summer to each run a new juvenile recruit named after one another and in the same ownership.
It is all starting to get serious too, though – as was always intended – after Scott’s Charlie Fellowes opened his account at the seventh attempt last week with a seven-length win at Beverley.
Fellowes is about to up the ante again as George Scott makes his third career start in Saturday’s £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes.
Both geldings are providing handy promotion by running in the colours of the two trainers’ Offthebridle podcast – and if George Scott can make a splash in the valuable sales race, he will be putting Fellowes’ nose nicely back in front.
At that suggestion, Fellowes said: “Exactly – we think they’re both pretty decent horses, and could both easily pick up some nice prizes
“For two horses who were bought for less than 20 grand, we’re pretty delighted with what we’ve come up with.”
He does admit to marginally mixed feelings, and no little uncertainty about exactly how to behave, when watching his namesake run for a rival stable – albeit in his own part-ownership.
“It is strange, but only because I hate cheering on other people’s horses!” said Fellowes.
“To cheer on a horse trained by someone else feels very alien.
“But the whole thing has been a really good experience. The only sad thing is that we really put the syndicate together for a bit of fun, to do some social stuff, which we obviously haven’t been able to do this year (because of coronavirus crowd restrictions).”
He is hoping George Scott will have his many supporters cheering at the necessary social distance, though, at HQ – having run with promise on both starts so far.
“That’s the plan,” said Fellowes.
“This has been a long-term plan, all along.
“He worked (on Wednesday morning) on the grass, and worked very nicely.”
Fellowes suspects George Scott may prove adept over a longer trip in time, but he is nonetheless optimistic.
“There will be a fine question mark over the six (furlongs), whether he’s quite got the speed for it,” he added.
“But there’s a lot of rain forecast, and we’d be wanting as much rain as possible for him.
“I think he’s got sharper and sharper with each run.
“It’s obviously quite a tough race, and he’s got quite a bit to find with a few of the top horses.
“But as a lot people know, mine aren’t wound up particularly on their first few starts, and they tend to improve significantly through the beginnings of their careers.
“I’d be confident he can run a really nice race.
“I could have run him after Ascot, and we decided not to and to freshen him up and have him absolutely spot on for the sales race – so this has been the plan ever since.”
As for the ‘other’ Charlie Fellowes, further progress appears highly likely.
Fellowes said of his alter ego: “He was very, very impressive the other day – I’m told the time was excellent, and I think Timeform gave him quite a good figure as a result.
“I think George is now going to just take his time, and train him like the good horse he looked the other day.”
A maximum field has been declared for the Newmarket feature, led by the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha.
The Sepoy youngster, who will be ridden by Hollie Doyle, was last seen winning the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.
Mighty Gurkha is one of two contenders for Lambourn-based Watson, alongside Ocean Star, who won her maiden by 11 lengths at Chepstow.
Tom Clover has high hopes for Fairy Dust, who is already Listed-placed this season but was down the field most recently in a Group Three at Salisbury.
Clover said: “We ran a close third last year with Gypsy Spirit for some of the same connections and we’re hoping that we can go a couple better this time around.
“Fairy Dust was disappointing at Salisbury last time but her previous form was very good, and she has been training really well recently. I’ve been very happy with her.
“It’s going to be pretty hard work out there, with all the rain forecast, but being by Gregorian I hope she’ll handle it OK. She’s drawn 30, which is nice draw for her, so hopefully she will run well.”