Al Kazeem Rules Prince of Wales's Stakes
Al Kazeem proved to be a cut above June 19 at Royal Ascot when he burst from the pack and wore down pacesetter Mukhadram to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I), vanquishing favorite Camelot for a second time.
Mukhadram set a strong pace and opened a four-length lead on his 10 pursuers into the straight, appearing en route to 14-1 upset. But James Doyle aboard Al Kazeem took aim on the front-runner and urged an explosive rally from his mount, who steadily closed in on the leader and just edged past in the closing strides to prevail by a neck.
"I thought for an awful minute that we weren't going to get there, but James said he was always confident," winning trainer Roger Charlton told Channel Four.
"Al Kazeem dug deep. He's a tough horse. It's magical to get a Royal Ascot winner. It leaves you speechless. It's what it's all about."
Group I winner The Fugue, making her 2013 bow after finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), rapidly closed to finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Mukhadram and a half-length in front of 5-4 favorite Camelot, whose intended pacemaker Windsor Palace missed the break.
Camelot raced in midfield early under Joseph O'Brien and mildly rallied about a quarter-mile out. He never looked to threaten but stayed on the final furlong to take fourth. Windsor Palace lost touch with the field a quarter-mile out and was eased to a last-place finish.
Al Kazeem was timed in 2:03.06 on turf rated as good to firm, winning consecutive group I races from Camelot, who won the first two jewels of the English Triple Crown last year.
Al Kazeem powered past Camelot to lead in the final 100 yards of the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) May 26 at the Curragh and shook clear to a 1 1/2-length triumph.
The Prince of Wales's marked the third start of the year for Camelot, whom trainer Aidan O'Brien said had a tough winter after undergoing colic surgery in October. In his season debut, the 4-year-old Montjeu colt won the High Chaparral E.B.F. Mooresbridge Stakes (Ire-III) May 6 at the Curragh before dropping the Gold Cup to Al Kazeem.
"We will wait and see what happens next," O'Brien said. "He had a tough enough winter; (surgeons) will tell you that a big operation will take at least four months for the wound to heal.
O'Brien indicated the Coral Eclipse (Eng-I) July 6 at Sandown could be a possible next start for Camelot while Charlton has his eye on a long-range goal of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr-I) for Al Kazeem, but first could be a possible return to Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) on July 27.
With the Prince of Wales's win as the 11-4 second favorite, Al Kazeem capped a four-race win streak and improved to six wins and four seconds from 11 career starts for owner-breeder John Deer.
A 4 1/2-length winner of the Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II) from Quest For Peace and Dunaden May 5, 2012, at Newmarket, the 5-year-old Dubawi horse was injured in that race and missed the remainder of the season. He returned from nearly a year on the sidelines April 27 at Sandown and won the Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (Eng-III) before his Gold Cup triumph.
Al Kazeem is out of the Darshaan mare Kazeem, whose dam, group III winner Kanz, is group I-placed in England. He is from the second crop of Dubawi and is the fourth group I winner of 2013 for his sire, who stands for Darley at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
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