Past Winners » Al Kazeem


This is a stronger renewal of the Jockey Club Stakes than we have been used to in recent years, but the betting is slightly wrong in my book.

Meandre is a worthy favourite, winner of the Grand Prix de Paris and sixth in the Arc, but he may not have as much in hand of his rivals as the market suggests, perhaps too much has been made of Andre Fabre’s recent record in Britain, and he is short enough at 2/1.

Fiorente is also probably shorter than he should be. He did run really well in the King Edward VII Stakes and Gordon Stakes last year, but he was beaten in both, the only win he has to his name is a Newbury maiden, and he hasn’t been seen since July. He could well improve again this year, but he doesn’t deserve to be as short as 4/1 here. He is priced up on Sir Michael Stoute’s reputation for doing well with this type of horse.

Dunaden and Masked Marvel are both interesting, but they will find it tough with a 5lb Group 1 penalty, and this looks just a starting point, they both have loftier targets later in the season. All that into the mix, and I am backing both Quest For Peace and Al Kazeem, they are the two overpriced horses in the race for me.

The case for Quest For Peace is relatively straightforward, he was a useful horse for Aidan O’Brien at the start of last season at three, and he stepped up on that form on his debut for Luca Cumani in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot in October. He stayed on well to get the better of Arctic Cosmos there, the pair of them nicely clear, and, though he was perhaps a little below that form in the Group 1 Canadian International after that, that was still a decent effort and it may have come a little soon for him just two weeks after the Ascot run.

The Cumberland Lodge win came on the back of a three-month break so we know he can go well when fresh. Soft ground would have been an unknown for him, so the drying ground is positive, and there is a chance that, not only will he have more to offer this season at four, but that he will be more forward for this race than some of his rivals. It is a valuable prize in its own right and Luca Cumani appears to be fairly happy with him.

Al Kazeem perhaps has a bit more to find than Quest For Peace, but not as much as odds of 12/1 or 14/1 suggest. He was really progressive last year, progressing right through the ranks, and though he was beaten three times in Group races, he went down to probable Group 1 horses each time, Sea Moon in the Great Voltigeur, Green Destiny in the Arc Trial at Newbury, and Beaten Up in the St Simon Stakes also at Newbury.

He acquitted himself really well in those three races, and there is a chance he will be even better this season at four, as his pedigree suggests he will. He goes well with cut in the ground and he stays a mile and a half well, so today’s conditions, and this race, look ideal for him. He may well come on for the race, but it would be a surprise if Roger Charlton didn’t have him ready to run his race. He is weak on Befair this morning, so be sure to back him with one of the firms who are guaranteeing their morning odds, as his SP could easily be bigger.

AL KAZEEM WON (ADV 14/1, SP 15/2)

QUEST FOR PEACE 2nd (ADV 9/1, SP 12/1)