Aidan O’Brien celebrated his 80th Royal Ascot winner when Changingoftheguard made every yard of the running in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Having attempted to make all in the Derby last time out before fading into fifth, he was out again quickly and this time Ryan Moore was back on board with the same tactics adopted.
Moore was hard at work from a long way out and while all the runners threw down some sort of a challenge, it was the Charlie Fellowes-trained Grand Alliance who came widest and latest of all.
There was little in it at the line and they were far apart on the track, but the 11-10 favourite got the verdict by a short head.
“He’s a very tough, hardy horse and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride,” said O’Brien
“He has an incredible constitution and will never surrender.
“I will be happy going the Leger trip with him.
“It’s been a big week,, but I take nothing for granted and every winner is a big bonus.”
Moore said: “Changingoftheguard was not at his best today.
“Even round the track, he was having a look and wasn’t focused. He kept going and the runner-up has run across the track, but I needed a bit of help really.
“He is a very honest horse, but he just gallops. He could have done with a bit of company and a bit of help. He wasn’t getting a lot of it and we were sitting ducks, but he does have that bit of class.”
Fellowes said: “To have a really good one for the Roys (owners) is fantastic – they have been supporters of mine for quite a long time now, and the lads have done such a great job with the horse.
“He’s not straightforward. He has his own ideas about the game, but he’s very talented and he’s a pleasure to have around the place. It’s just nice to train good horses. He’ll have his day – it’s not today, but he’ll have his day.
“I didn’t think the visor was going to make any difference for the first half of the race, and then, a bit like at Epsom, he sort of clocked on a bit earlier this time and cruised round the corner, and I thought, all right! Then when he’s in the straight he veers further and further across – maybe the ground didn’t help.
“The St Leger has been mentioned. Whether he’ll stay that far, I don’t know. I think Danny (Tudhope) was more worried about how knackered he’d be at the end of the Leger, pushing him round that far! We’ll see.”