International assignments could be on the radar for Marbaan following his return to form at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Winner of the Vintage Stakes over track and trip as a juvenile, Charlie Fellowes’ three-year-old had only top-class performers Kinross and Isaac Shelby ahead of him when running over seven furlongs for the first time this season in the Lennox Stakes.
He will now be aimed at either Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes or the City of York Stakes during York’s Ebor meeting, which could tee up a trip oversees, with options in both America and Australia on the table for the son of Oasis Dream.
“He’s taken his race at Goodwood really well and it was great to get him back on track, even though the ground was a little bit softer than ideal,” said Fellowes.
“He’s got options of the Hungerford or the City of York and after that things are slightly up in the air.
“We may consider going a bit further afield and look at something in America or possibly the Golden Eagle in Sydney. I guess that will depend how the next run goes but I think he’s definitely better on better ground, so that is why that has come into our thinking.
“A race like the Prix de la Foret would have been ideal but the likelihood of it being on good ground is extremely rare, so you kind of have to start thinking a bit imaginatively and there’s incredible prize-money to be won in Australia and also options on quicker ground in America.”
Although set to remain at seven furlongs for his next outing, Fellowes would have no hesitation dropping back to six furlongs again in the future and is keen to point out his underwhelming effort in the Commonwealth Cup is his only poor showing at that distance.
He continued: “I actually think he has the speed for six furlongs and he proved that at Salisbury where he split a Group One winner (Khaadem) and a Group One second (Run To Freedom). The form of that race could not have worked out any better.
“I just think the race at Ascot was a line through job, he’s just not the sort of horse you can be aggressive on. He had to make most of his running in a small group of three that day and that is not the way to ride him. He’s much better with a bit of cover, sitting in behind one or two and I think he would be just as fine over six.”
Whereas Marbaan requires quick ground to be seen at his best, one who relishes testing conditions is stablemate Vadream, who claimed both the Cammidge Trophy and Palace House Stakes earlier in the season, but has been on the sidelines of late.
Owned by Coventry City chairman Doug King, the five-year-old has been out of action with injury at a time when underfoot conditions have been in her favour.
However, having been on the go since February, Fellowes is happy to have been handed an unexpected opportunity to give the daughter of Brazen Beau a mid-season breather ahead of her big-race targets towards the end of the campaign.
“Vadream had a small setback a couple of weeks ago. She’s had a bruised foot and she had a very easy week last week and she’s back cantering now,” said the Bedford House handler.
“She’s got lots and lots of entries, but she kind of needed a freshen up anyway. So although there has been soft ground around while she has been out and she could have run in the Maurice de Gheest I guess, it won’t have done her any harm having a little bit of a freshen up mid-season.
“We have all the races like the Flying Five, the Prix de l’Abbaye and then the Champion Sprint, along with races like the Bengough Stakes at a slightly lower level as options. When she gets her ground she is going to be very dangerous.
“I’d love to run her in an Abbaye or at the Curragh in the Flying Five, I think that would be a lovely option if she got some soft ground over there in Ireland.”