Charlie Fellowes is optimistic he’s found a young stayer that can follow in the hoofprints of retired stable star Prince of Arran with feature race success in Australia.
Speaking to Racing.com from his Newmarket yard overnight, Fellowes identified emerging three-year-old Grand Alliance as a potential Caulfield and Melbourne Cups campaigner, potentially as early as this spring but more likely with another season of racing under his belt in 2023.
The son of Churchill ran unplaced in Saturday’s Group 1 Epsom Derby (2400m) but Fellowes believes that, with a gelding operation, the young stayer can develop into an elite contender capable of coping with international travel.
“We had a runner in the Derby the other day and he ran well, he finished 10th after deciding with two furlongs to go that he’d actually put an ounce of effort in, otherwise he might have run a lot better,” Fellowes said.
“He might just be a Melbourne Cup horse for further down the line.
“On pedigree he’s not meant to stay but if you watch the Derby there is no doubt that he stayed and, if anything, you’d say the he’ll probably want a little bit further.
“I think for the Melbourne Cup you want a genuine mile-and-a-half horse up here because they’ve got to have a bit of speed which he’s got and I think he’ll love those (Australian) tracks.
“We’ve just got to work out whether he’s good enough or not.
“The owner’s son, straight of the back of the race (Derby), said this could be one to take me back down to Australia and I hadn’t really thought about it until he mentioned it but it’s actually not a bad idea.
“He’s lazy and quirky and everything that Prince of Arran was as well.”
Fellowes enjoyed terrific success in Australia with Prince of Arran, who won the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) and the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) en route to three consecutive minor placings in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) between 2018 and 2020.
The young trainer expressed his displeasure at Racing Victoria’s stringent veterinary screening process for international Melbourne Cup aspirants after Prince of Arran was denied the opportunity to travel for the race last year but said Grand Alliance should have no such problems passing any required tests.
“Racing Victoria vets, if you’re watching this, he’s absolutely sound as a pound so you’ve got nothing to worry about,” he said.
“He’s a young horse and he’s never had any issues.
“He started life relatively late in December but that was because he a was an immature, narrow horse but he’s been very sound and I’d like to think that he wouldn’t have any problems (passing the screening process).”
At Royal Ascot next week, Fellowes will saddle up a select team of runners, including Brazen Beau filly Vadream in the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes (1200m) against Australian colts Artorius and Home Affairs.
Vadream is rated $41 in Platinum Jubilee Stakes market, which is headed by Home Affairs at $4.75.
But he said his best chances of victory could come via Atrium in the Britannia Stakes (1600m) and Fresh Hope in the Sandringham Handicap (1600m).