Patience the key to Al Kazeem

| June 21, 2013
Al Kazeem wins the G1 Prince Of Wales Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting

Al Kazeem wins the G1 Prince Of Wales Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting

Al Kazeem added to his burgeoning reputation with his success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the feature race on day two at Royal Ascot. Consistent Irish success at the meeting helped to send off Camelot as the favourite but last year’s Derby winner was only fourth and now seems a busted flush.

It cannot have helped Camelot that his pacemaker, Windsor Palace, missed the break under Seamie Heffernan and found himself unable to get near the front, being immediately trapped on the inside rail. Paul Hanagan seized the initiative on Mukhadram, gradually building the tempo and stealing a handy lead by the turn for home.

But James Doyle had settled Al Kazeem in a handy fourth from the off and set his horse alight in plenty of time to reel in the leader. Nothing else threatened to get into the argument, with The Fugue running on into third, just ahead of Camelot.

The winning trainer, Roger Charlton, suggested on Channel 4 that the horse’s campaign might now be “maybe the King George [here at the end of July] and then the Arc [in Paris in October]”. “We always thought we had a really good horse here,” he said. “He’s very tough, very genuine.”

A big, heavy animal, Al Kazeem was limited to a single race in 2012 by a pelvic fracture. “The name of the game is patience,” Charlton said. “Henry Cecil always said that: patience, patience and more patience.”

Of Doyle, Charlton said: “For a young man who’s not ridden many good horses, I’m so pleased for him. We’ve asked him big questions and he’s delivered.”

Jockey James Doyle went from royal zero to 891-1 treble hero in 75 glorious minutes yesterday with wins on Al Kazeem, Belgian Bill and Rizeena.

In the build-up to the meeting, Doyle, who had never previously ridden a Royal Ascot winner, had been asked by one interviewer for his favourite memory of the fixture and struggled for an answer. He will have no such problems in future.

If his success had all ended after Al Kazeem, an 11-4 shot trained by his boss Roger Charlton, had given Doyle his first Group One race success in Britain by clawing back Mukhadram in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, he would have been delighted.

But the winners just kept coming. Doyle thrust the head of Belgium Bill, a 33-1 shot trained by George Baker, to the front in the final furlong of the Royal Hunt Cup and concluded his one-man show by driving Clive Brittain’s Rizeena past trailblazing American filly Sweet Emma Rose in the Queen Mary Stakes.

Not bad for a jockey who, with his opportunities stagnating back in 2009, even considered jacking in riding and enrolled in a course to be a plumber.

Doyle’s surge of success was greeted with the trademark level-headed sense — Charlton described him as one who does ‘not talk bull****’ — of a jockey who has matured by grafting his way to the top.

‘It’s magical,’ said the 25-year-old. ‘It leaves you speechless but this is what it is all about. All of those mornings and all of the hard work you put in does pay off.

‘People keep talking about the plumbing but we’ve gone past all that now. The last two seasons have been fantastic.’
Charlton took something of a gamble when calling up Doyle at the start of last season but one which paid an immediate dividend with the victory of Cityscape in the £1.9million Dubai Duty Free. Together, both jockey and trainer have flourished.

Al Kazeem, who has been nursed back from a hairline fracture in his pelvis last year, was Charlton’s first Group One winner in Britain since Tante Rose won the StanleyBet Sprint Cup at Haydock in 2004.

Rated the superior of his 1990 Derby winner Quest For Fame by Charlton, Al Kazeem will now be campaigned towards the Arc at Longchamp in October, possibly via the King George back here next month.

He reeled in and beat William Haggas-trained Mukhadram by a neck after the front-runner had looked like giving jockey Paul Hanagan his most important win since taking over as first jockey to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Charlton quoted the late Sir Henry Cecil when saying it had taken ‘patience, patience and more patience’, to bring Al Kazeem back from his injury.

He added: ‘You can’t do it without the horse and as we saw he is a very tough and genuine horse. But I thought James gave him a great ride for a young guy who has not ridden many good horses. Most people think the Arc is the best race and that is what I’d like to win.’

Where Camelot goes next is not clear. Expectations were high that he could avenge last month’s Tattersalls Gold Cup beating by Al Kazeem and he was backed into 5-2 favourite, only to finish four lengths fourth.

After his winter colic operation, last year’s 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner is struggling to reach the heights expected of him by Aidan O’Brien.

The trainer, who had landed his third win of the meeting with Gale Force Ten in the Jersey Stakes, reckons he has been easy on the recuperating colt, who went close to landing the 2012 Triple Crown.


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