Charlie And His Prince, Going Around The World, Again
‘When I was seven years old, I knew deep down that I was hooked to horses and racing’
Charlie Fellowes, once of the most highly regarded trainers in the world, once again starts his journey to hallowed Meydan racecourse to win the race he considers a ‘bogey’ with his champion, Prince Of Arran.
Charlie Fellowes is a self-confessed, consummate lover of everything horseracing. He fell in love with horses at the tender age of seven and has never looked back. According to his website, he developed‘an infatuation with the magical combination of intense competition and nature at its magisterial best’.
Every year Fellowes strives to continue to beat their prize money and winners’ tallies. Ten Furlongs speaks to the passionate trainer about his stable champion, Prince of Arran and their plans to go around the world.
Q: What sort of horse is Prince Of Arran?
A: Prince Of Arran is a brilliant horse. He is always interested in what is happening around him, and he loves new scenery. It keeps him interested. He looks after himself. That is why he enjoys travelling, and we can take him to international races.
Michael Walker, his work rider from Australia was the key to his progress. He was not an easy horse as a 3YO. Now he really enjoys his training. He has won £1.6 million in prize money, quite a significant achievement for such a young trainer like me.
Q: He placed third in Saudi Turf Handicap. What did you think of his performance and the facilities in Riyadh?
A: I think he loved the race and ran well. The Turf C&D is his forte. He has faced Cross Counter twice in a row, and he has done well.
Q: And Prince of Arran will be facing Cross Counter once again on Dubai World Cup day. What are your expectations?
A: We’ll have Cross Counter and Ipsolini among others. He loves Meydan as he has won out there, and this is where the global journey began. Prince Of Arran will continue on his travels later this month with a third outing in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan. “I’d say he will head back out to Meydan for the Dubai Gold Cup again. It has been a bogey race for him – two years ago he had far too much ground to make up, then last year he was really sick afterwards, so we have got unfinished business out there.
Q: What are your plans for Prince Of Arran?
A: He flies to Dubai at the end of March. Once he leaves Dubai, I would like to give Prince Of Arran a second shot at the Ascot Gold Cup. He would then have a little break before we run him in the September Stakes at Kempton. He was third in the same race last year. From there he goes to Australia, where he will have one run before going to the Melbourne Cup. One thing he won’t do this year is going to Hong Kong.
Q: How did Prince Of Arran come to you?
A: Saeed Bel Obaida, an Emarati owns Prince Of Arran. He was introduced to me by my previous boss. He is their homebred. They also own Sueboog, Prince Of Arran’s grand dam.
He was a good looking horse. In fact, he is the most good looking horse I've ever held. They are great owners. I have five horses with them, including a very nice 2YO filly.
Q: Do you go to the sales for your owners?
A: Although I hate being away from my yard, I go to sales in Ireland, France and around the UK.
Q: How did you get into racing?
A: In England, most trainers either have a father, godfather or an uncle who is from the industry. But no one in my family is in racing. My mother had a share in a syndicate, and I got interested in racing as a 7YO. I watched racing on TV. Eventually, I went to work for Nicky Henderson, who is a National Jumps trainer for two weeks and knew that I wanted to work in racing for the rest of my life.
When I was 18, I went to work for Godolphin for six months. I worked with Saeed Bin Suroor, and it spiralled from there. My parents supported me all the way. My dad was nothing but supportive. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. Even my wife, who is not from the industry, understands my passion and has been fully supportive.
I couldn't have done it without them.
Q: You are quite young, compared to your contemporaries and come from a non-racing background. Where does the bravery come from?
A: I knew what I wanted, and I never deviated. I kept going. I enjoy sports. When I was seven years old, I knew deep down that I was hooked to horses and racing. I have always loved horses. I was a natural with them. It made sense for me to run my own yard.
Q: Please tell us about your Godolphin experience?
A: I was in the 2YO yard. The big horse in the yard at the time was Dubawi, and we all rooted for him. I had a great experience. I learned a lot of things at Godolphin and met great people.
Q: And lastly, which was the first Dubai World Cup you have seen?
A: I went to Dubai in 2005 and saw Roses In May from America win. It was at And Al Sheba.