Past Winners » Al Kazeeem


I think that the betting is a little wrong here, there shouldn’t be as much between Camelot and Al Kazeem as there is. In fact, there probably shouldn’t be all that much between them at all and Al Kazeem is a fair bit too big at 11/4 or 5/2.

Of course it is understandable why Camelot is the short-priced favourite, he has been sent off as favourite for every single one of his eight races, six times at odds-on, and he came closer than any horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to winning the Triple Crown. However, last year’s three-year-olds really were a substandard bunch and, while Camelot was among the best of them, it is different for him now taking on the older generation.

Also, a mile and a quarter on fast ground may not be ideal for him. Admittedly he made up a lot of ground to win the 2000 Guineas last year, but he was under pressure two and a half furlongs out in the Derby (his stable companion Astrology traded at 1.26 in-running) and it wasn’t for lack of stamina that he was beaten in the St Leger.

His reappearance – after serious colic surgery at the end of last season – was not as encouraging as has been portrayed just about everywhere. Parish Hall was clearly below par, and Camelot had to be driven out to beat his stable companion Triumphant, with the 91-rated Macbeth beaten just three and a half lengths. Joseph O’Brien had to keep Camelot up to his work all the way to the line.

Of course, it is possible that he will improve dramatically for that, but it is also possible that he will only improve a little, and if that is the case then Al Kazeem has a major chance of beating him today.

For starters, Al Kazeem recorded an RPR on his reappearance in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown last month that was 5lb superior to the one achieved by Camelot in the Mooresbrige Stakes. Also, Al Kazeem’s run suggested that he has much more to come over this trip.

That was his first run over a mile and a quarter since he won the London Gold Cup off a mark of 95 in May 2011, and also his first run for a year, but he travelled into the race so strongly, he cut through the pack to come and join the leader Ektihaam well over a furlong out and he was always doing enough to hold on once he hit the front.

The first three pulled nicely clear, and that form was boosted when the third and second, Ektihaam and Thomas Chippendale, went on to finish first and second in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot.

Quick ground over a mile and a quarter is no problem for Al Kazeem, in fact it may even be his optimum now. He has a top class turn of foot, and that should be a big factor in this small field. Roger Charlton is very good at placing his horses – he is 3-11 with his runners in Ireland over the past five seasons – and, after a slow start to the season, his horses are really going nicely now.

AL KAZEEM WON (ADV 11/4, SP 9/4)