The last 10 or so years, Australian racing has been blessed. Firstly with So You Think, then Black Caviar, followed of course by Winx. Three all time greats.
But when it comes to popularity, they need to make room for a stayer from England.
When you think of longevity and the Melbourne Cup, Shadow King comes to mind first given he contested six Melbourne Cups. The modern era, Red Cadeaux contested five and will go down in Melbourne Cup folklore.
But the story that is Prince Of Arran is one that should be celebrated.
Before that is done, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed, that being Charlie Fellowes announcing the retirement of his warrior after a poor showing in the September Stakes at Kempton Park overnight in the UK.
That announcement came after Fellowes confirmed that his horse was deemed “too high risk” after the veterinary screening via the new protocols brought in by Racing Victoria to try and fix the problem of international raiders passing in the Melbourne Cup.
Fellowes has been such a bright spark for the Melbourne Cup in recent years. He’s different. He brings personality unlike most of the Australian trainers, and what these new rules and regulations for the Cup have confirmed is that Fellowes is an independent. He’s not a company man. He’s been quite vocal in his thoughts about what has been put in place, which has pretty much retired his war horse.
It is a shame that Prince Of Arran won’t be running in his fourth Melbourne Cup in attempting to win a race that nobody would begrudge him saluting first in given he has been so close to winning in his previous three attempts. He just couldn’t quite run out the 3200m on the wet track in 2018, he went so close to winning in 2019 when beaten a lip by Vow And Declare, and really, with a normal Jamie Kah peach, he should have won last year.
What made this horse remarkable and popular was a few reasons. For Australian punters, he was popular because he was a sure bet of running well in Australia, not just the Melbourne Cup. In eight runs down under, the worst run was a fourth in last years Caulfield Cup, with that run being one of the runs of the race.
Fellowes himself struggles to explain why the horse thrives in Australia. With the greatest respect to all concerned, his UK form, as a whole, would see him struggle to win a Listed race in Australia, but as soon as he got on the plane and went to Werribee, he was just a different horse and has been the best stayer Australia has seen the past three Springs.
Having said all that, while it is disappointing he won’t race again, the decision by Racing Victoria and the vets to ban him from coming over should be applauded. Red Cadeaux will go down in Melbourne Cup folklore for his deeds on the track, but he’ll also be remembered for losing his life thanks to an injury sustained during the Cup.
The racing industry does a good job getting on the news for the wrong reasons, the ‘Airbnb Party’ a perfect example, but the race that stops a nation is starting to be known as the race that the nation watches horses getting killed. It was shocking what happened to Red Cadeaux and thankfully, that scenario won’t be the case for Prince Of Arran.
Enjoy retirement champion.