Al Kazeem Wins Eclipse for Group I Hat Trick

The 5-year-old Dubawi horse took Sandown's premier race for a third top-level win.

Late-developing Al Kazeem unleashed his powerful acceleration in the straight and scored his third successive group I win of the year in the Coral Eclipse Stakes July 6 at Sandown.

Showing he has matured into a force to reckon with in the Europe's middle-distance division, the 5-year-old Dubawi horse ran down pacesetter Mukhadram inside the final furlong, hampering that rival, before drawing clear to a comfortable two-length victory. Declaration of War  got up to take second close to home.

The Eclipse was a near replay of the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I) June 19 at Royal Ascot in which Al Kazeem ran down pacesetter Mukhadram and edged him by just a neck. But in his drive to the finish line in the Eclipse, Al Kazeem drifted right into Mukhadram in the final 100 yards. Mukhadram lost his momentum and ultimately the runner-up spot as Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) victor Declaration of War capitalized and swept past.

Al Kazeem's rider, James Doyle, was slapped with a five-day ban as a result of the interference that forced Mukhadram into a third-place finish, 1 1/4 lengths behind Declaration of War. Mars, the only 3-year-old in the field, finished fourth after tracking Mukhadram from second early and challenging a half-mile out.

Al Kazeem covered about 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.35 as the 15-8 favorite, winning his fifth consecutive race and seventh overall from 12 career starts.

His victory skein began with a 4 1/2-length triumph in the Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II) May 5, 2012, at Newmarket, but he fractured his pelvis in that race and missed the remainder of the season. Returning from nearly a year on the sidelines April 27 at Sandown, he won the Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Eng-III) before his taking the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) from Camelot May 26 at the Curragh.
Trainer Roger Charlton said Al Kazeem is due for a rest.

"I'm immensely proud of him," Charlton said. "I'd be reluctant to keep going for the King George (VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes July 27 at Ascot). He's now had three quick runs on fast ground and deserves a break."

Charlton has penciled in possible starts in Juddmonte International (Eng-I) Aug. 21 at York or the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) Sept. 7 at Leopardstown for Al Kazeem. He also has his eye on Europe's premiere middle-distance contest, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 10 at Longchamp.

Campaigned by breeder John Deer, British-bred Al Kazeem is from the second crop of Dubawi and is out of the Darshaan mare Kazeem, a half sister to group III winner Kanz.

Dubawi, who stands for Darley at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, is the sire of four group I winners among 13 stakes winners in 2013. The 11-year-old son of Dubai Millennium has 62 stakes winners overall and two champions.