Al Kazeem may take in Irish Champion Stakes
Al Kazeem may return to Group 1 action in the Irish Champion Stakes after proving that he retains plenty of ability with victory in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor on Saturday. Roger Charlton’s charge was a three time Group 1 winner last term before being retired to stud at the end of the season.
Unfortunately, the stud career didn’t go quite to plan, with the son of Dubawi being found to be sub-fertile. He would soon be returned to training with his old handler Charlton, making his comeback run in the Doom Bar Stakes at Newbury in July, where he would run well before tiring late to finish fourth.
The 6yo would return to winning ways at Windsor last weekend and Charlton has said that a return to Group 1 company may now be on the cards, particularly the Irish Champion Stakes in which he finished second to brilliant mare The Fugue last year.
The trainer said on his website: “Al Kazeem did all that could have been expected from him, returning to the winner’s enclosure in great style and in the process lowering the course record by 1.33 seconds which I gather is the equivalent of seven or eight lengths.
“He has come out of his race well and he was his normal fresh and happy self this morning, in fact he dropped his regular rider whilst trotting.
“Unfortunately there are no Group races over nine or 10 furlongs in England during September so we have not ruled out the idea of returning to Leopardstown to run in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“There is also the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte Group Three in France over a straight 10 furlongs on September 19 as an alternative.
“After the race I had it in my mind that the Irish Champion Stakes was only 14 days away, it is in fact three weeks and it will at least help bring Al Kazeem forward another notch.
“Last season he achieved a Timeform rating of 128 when he won the Coral Eclipse, after his comeback race at Newbury he was given a rating of 108, Timeform have now raised his rating to 119+ so he is in within 9lb or three lengths of his career best.
“Interestingly the BHA handicapper has dropped him 6lb to a rating of 117.
“He clearly needs to improve again to have any chance of adding to his three Group Ones but it is not impossible and we both like a challenge.”
By Kevin Walsh 26/8/14
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