Roger Charlton’s Al Kazeem looks set to ride into Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales Stakes on the second day of the meeting as favourite, a distinction that shows just how far he’s come since sustaining an injury on the sole start of his four-year-old campaign.
The five-year-old has already notched consecutive victories this season, showing no signs of the dreaded ‘bounce’ when following up a Group 3 Sandown victory – achieved after virtually a year off the track – with victory over Camelot in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time out.
He beat last year’s Arc seventh with consummate ease at the Curragh and with Aidan O’Brien sending out pacemaker Windsor Forest in the contest to ensure a fair gallop, it’s difficult to quibble with the result.
After the second of those successes Al Kazeem’s bespectacled handler told the Racing Post “we know he gets a mile and a half, the Arc is a race I´d like to run him in”.
Given Camelot is closest in the betting to the Charlton horse for the Royal Ascot Grade 1 there is every chance that he could post a second top level success over 1m2f in as many races there.
If he does so, the 12/1 about him winning the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe will surely contract and the fact that his trainer has stated the race is his likely aim is not the only reason to consider backing Al Kazeem for victory in Europe’s richest race this autumn.
The fact that the son of Dubawi has been excelling over 1m2f in recent races may seem something of a downer on his chances of winning the 1m4f Longchamp Group 1, but this is far from the case.
Five of the last seven Arcs have gone the way of speedily-bred types whose sires boasted stamina indexes – an average of the trips of every race won by one their progeny – between 8.2 and 9.2 furlongs.
Al Kazeem’s sire – whose progeny include 2000 Guineas winner Makfi – has a similarly speedy stamina index of 9.3 and with his dam sired by French Derby winner Darshaan he’ll not lack for stamina over the longer trip.
With his trainer’s belief that he’s a slow-maturing horse, there’s more than reason to suspect that Al Kazeem is susceptible to still more improvement with just 10 races on the clock.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.