Grand Alliance to step up in trip on advice of Ryan Moore

Charlie Fellowes will step the quirky but talented Grand Alliance up in distance on his next start on the advice of Ryan Moore.

The four-year-old infamously threw away the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer when hanging badly but still only losing out by a nose. The visor he wore that day has subsequently been replaced by cheekpieces and he has since been gelded.

He came good with a facile success in the Group Three John Porter Stakes at Newbury in April, but disappointed on his return to the Royal meeting for the Hardwicke last month and has since finished a tailed off last of four in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.

Moore was on board Grand Alliance for the first time at the July meeting and while the prevailing first ground appeared an obvious excuse for his below-par effort, the rider took a different view.

Fellowes said: “Grand Alliance is a funny character and a lot of people said ‘why did you run him on ground you knew was too quick?’, but a lot of the time you don’t learn about horses sitting at home.

“We had booked Ryan Moore, who is just an outstanding jockey, and I felt we’d learn more about the horse by running than we would staying at home.

“Ryan got off him and said ‘this horse, in my opinion, is crying out for a step up in trip’. He said ‘I don’t think his attitude is a problem’. He’s been called a lot of names in the past, but Ryan felt he really worked for him and he just said ‘I could not go quick enough’.

“Ryan said ‘step up to two miles and see what happens, yes it was good to firm, but in my opinion the ground wasn’t a problem, the problem was the trip’.”

Fellowes will therefore test Grand Alliance over a longer trip next time and has identified a suitable race in France next month.

“We’ve got an eye on the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville, which is over a mile and seven furlongs and he should get a little bit of cut in the ground,” the trainer added.

“That’s the race I’ve got pencilled in at the moment and that should tell us whether we need to drop back to a mile and a half when the ground really does get soft or if we stay the trip over two miles, ridden patiently, maybe it opens up a few more doors.

“It’s a little bit of a fact-finding mission and I still feel like we haven’t quite worked the horse out, but it’ll be interesting to try what Ryan says.”

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