Cox Plate All But Ruled Out For Al Kazeem After Ascot Victory

Al Kazeem has the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as his major objective after kick-starting a remarkable treble for jockey James Doyle in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) on day two of Royal Ascot.

Moonee Valley Racing Club have extended an invite to Roger Charlton’s five-year-old for the Sportingbet Cox Plate but the trainer is favouring a crack at Europe’s premier middle-distance (2400 metres) championship on the first Sunday of October.

Having been sidelined with injury following his impressive successful comeback last season, Al Kazeem has now won all three of his starts this campaign.

After a pipe-opener in a Group 3 event at Sandown, he lowered the colours of last year’s two-time Derby winner Camelot for a maiden Group 1 success in Ireland’s Tattersalls Gold Cup and again had that rival behind when winning the 2000-metre feature.

This Group 1 win was a first visit to the Royal Ascot winner’s enclosure for Doyle and he wasted no time adding to it by capturing the next two races aboard Belgian Bill and Rizeena.

Charlton said: “I thought for a minute we weren’t going to get there, but James seemed confident.

“We had to be patient with him last season and he has progressed further than I ever thought he would.

“There are a lot of lovely races and without discussing with the owners I don’t know where next.

“Like most people I’d love to have a runner in the Arc and if we go there maybe the King George would be next.

“I do think the Arc is the best race and would love to win it.

“I am very privileged to be invited to the Cox Plate. It is a great invite but it is a big ask for the horse and I am not Luca Cumani with his record at travelling horses. As I say, it is an honour to be asked, but I don’t think we will be going.”

Al Kazeem just reeled in the front-running Mukhadram to post victory by a neck, with the pair pulling over three lengths clear of the third-placed The Fugue.

John Gosden’s filly was making her seasonal debut in the colours of owner and musical impresario Andrew Lloyd-Webber and was one of five runners in the field extended an invite to the Cox Plate on October 26.

Gosden said: “I have not discussed with her owners where she will run for the rest of the season – we wanted to get today out of the way first and take it from there.”

Camelot, another Cox Plate invitee, took fourth place with 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux failing to display the requisite dash over a trip short of his best and finishing a well-beaten ninth of the 11 runners.

His trainer Ed Dunlop commented: “It was perhaps one run too many after his world tour. He’ll have a break now but we don’t have any further plans at this stage.”


Share this article