Al Kazeem’s win in the Coral Eclipse at Sandown saw him bring up a Group 1 hat-trick for the campaign and the five-year-old was trimmed into a share of 6/1 favouritism for the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe on the back of the performance, but just who is his rival for darling of the ante-post market?
Intello, a three-year-old son of Galileo – out of Impressionante, a Danehill mare who was herself a Group 2-winning three-year-old miler back in 2006 – is trained by French handler Andre Fabre, a man who knows a thing or two about winning the richest race in the European calendar, having saddled an unparalleled seven career Arc winners.
If not for supremely hard luck in the French Guineas, Fabre’s colt would be the proud owner of a six-race unbeaten record. Having broken from a wide draw that’s notoriously difficult to score from at Longchamp, he found the door repeatedly shut in his face when looking for gaps to make his move in the closing furlongs.
When passage finally became available, he tore home to go down by just half a length to a group that had been given between three and four lengths worth of head start, looking a seriously good horse in the process.
He gained recompense for that hard luck story next time – when taking the French Derby over an extended 1m2f at Chantilly – making the break for home a furlong and a half out before putting three lengths between himself and Sky Hunter and staying on stoutly to hold off the fast-finishing Morandi.
Subsequently the three-year-old stepped back in trip to see off older foes in a Group 3 mile at Maisons-Laffitte and all being well he will utilise his notable finishing kick over the same trip in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois next.
Al Kazeem’s pedigree would mean that doubts over his staying the Arc’s 1m4f would be hard to rule out, were it not for the fact that Roger Charlton’s colt had posted evidence in the form of a convincing win over the trip on good-to-soft ground on his only start as a four-year-old.
However, given the proposed tack of Intello’s campaign it seems unlikely that similar misgivings will be assuaged by cold hard facts before a potential September showdown with the former.
Nonetheless, with his dam by Danehill – sire of Arc winner Dylan Thomas and Derby king North Light – it’s no vain hope he will get 1m4f and confidence in the horse’s ability is sky high within the camp, with jockey Olivier Peslier pointing to the good pace off which the colt quickened in the French Derby.
Speaking in the wake of Intello’s recent Maisons-Laffitte success, Peslier went on to suggest he believes Fabre’s star three-year-old to be the best colt Europe’s classic generation has to offer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.