Hold your horses, surely not! Check the spelling, check the trainer, check everything. Yep, just making sure the Melbourne Cup runner-up wasn’t backing up six days later in a little Class 1 at Lismore on the far north coast of NSW.
Punters held their breath last Tuesday as high-class UK-based seven-year-old gelding and Geelong Cup winner Prince Of Arran was third over the line but promoted to second after a rough and tumble stewards’ protest on behalf of the luckless Il Paradiso.
That Prince Of Arran, by the German sire Shirocco, trained by Newmarket’s Charlie Fellowes and having won more than $2.5 million in prize-money, is safely back in his home box after the whirlwind trip Down Under, not being hosed down on a farm somewhere near Lismore.
Rather today’s Prince Of Arran, a five-year-old gelding who started his career under Victorian trainer Mike Moroney before switching to Maryanne Brosnan on the Gold Coast, has won only once from 23 starts – his maiden at lonely Benalla two years ago – and accumulated just over $56,000. But he gets a shot at a second win, and first as a Queenslander, in a modest Class 1 handicap over 1506m at his seventh run this campaign.
The visors go on, the winkers come off, and “Aussie” Prince Of Arran will be praying some of that spring magic from “Pommy” Prince Of Arran rubs off today, although he’ll have his hands full against improving four-year-old mare Lily Of China who looks close to a second win dropping in weight for popular Grafton trainer John Shelton.
It seems there’s hardly a meeting anywhere across the North and Far North Coast of NSW that Gold Coast stables don’t attack. And again it’s the father-son combination of Toby and Trent Edmonds leading the way.
Well-bred three-year-old Scout, by fashionable sprint sire Spirit Of Boom, returns as a gelding in a Maiden Hcp over 1200m and looks a near good thing before the pair launch a double assault on the final race – Class 1 handicap over 1100m – with smart five-year-old mare Sparkling Facet, who has looked sharp winning two trials ahead of her first run in nearly eight months, and stablemate four-year-old stallion Invincore who also looks in good shape after a nice return in a stronger race at home.