Big-race glory on a regular basis is top of the priority list for Charlie Fellowes in 2018 and Repercussion will bid to give him the perfect start in the 32Red Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday.
With the former Andre Fabre-trained gelding signing off on a winning note in September, the Newmarket-based handler is quietly confident the five-year-old can start as he ended and make a splash in the curtain raiser to the turf season.
Fellowes said: “It is lovely to have a horse going for a race like the Lincoln.
“He ran a nice race at Newmarket at the beginning of last season, then he was very disappointing until we put the tongue tie on at the Rowley Mile in his last run and that made a massive difference.
“He is a horse that is definitely best fresh and has worked on grass. It is a very tough race to be running in from 10lb higher than for his last win, but there are plenty of positives for him.
“My desire this year is to have that group of horses that are capable of performing in the big Saturday races.
“We’ve been knocking on the door of the big stage and I believe we have a couple of horses that can help us burst on to the scene. Hopefully, Repercussion can get the ball rolling.”
It is the ambition of every trainer to saddle a winner at Royal Ascot, and after finishing second with Endless Acres at the meeting last year, Fellowes, 32, hopes Chiefofchiefs can help tick that box off on his CV in June.
He said: “He could potentially be a real improver. His training has been fantastic – he has been gelded since his last run and that could just make this horse.
“He is a lovely, big colt and I’ve made no secret how highly I regard him. I’ve always said this fellow is stakes class. He excites me and I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. The first target is the Royal Hunt Cup. He needs to go up another 10lb to get in and we have got to work out how to do that, but I’ve always thought the world of him.”
Hidden gems are always a welcome bonus and Fellowes is confident there are at least a couple of them hiding among his three-year-old team, judged on what he has seen so far.
He said: “My three-year-olds across the board are generally talented and I’m very excited about all of them.
“In Demand, who is in at Doncaster on Saturday, has a phenomenal pedigree, while Escalator, who ran a couple of times last year, has improved again.”
Ante-post favourite Fire Brigade has been drawn near the stands rail in stall 19 for Saturday’s 32Red Lincoln.
The four-year-old has been well-backed since trainer Michael Bell booked leading jockey Ryan Moore for the ride as both bid for a first success in the one-mile cavalry charge on Town Moor.
Heading the maximum field of 22 following the 48-hour final declaration stage is top-weight is Lord Glitters, who has been allotted stall nine.
His trainer David O’Meara also saddles last year’s winner Bravery, who will race from the far side of the track in stall one.
William Haggas goes for a record-equalling fourth win in the race with Addeybb, drawn 10.
Richard Fahey has three runners, including Gabrial, who lifted this prize in 2015.
The nine-year-old will race from stall seven after being the first horse out of the hat at the draw made in the At The Races studio.
The Musley Bank handler also has Stamp Hill (20) and Withernsea (18).
Last year’s Cambridgeshire hero Dolphin Vista is drawn in stall two for Martyn Meade, with his stablemate Chelsea Lad in 14.
Robert Eddery’s Donncha, who was third 12 months ago, is in stall 15 and Mick Appleby’s admirable performer Big Country is in gate 16.