Al Kazeem Irish Champion Stakes run hinges on ground
Last Updated: 02/09/13 10:29am
Al Kazeem: In the mix for the Irish Champion
Three-times Group One winner Al Kazeem remains under consideration for the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Roger Charlton's five-year-old suffered his first defeat of the campaign when third in the Juddmonte International at York last month, and with the fast ground blamed for that reverse, connections are keeping a close eye on conditions.
Owner John Deer said: "He's still in the race, but it very much depends on the going. If it's good to firm, he definitely won't be running. If it's good or good to soft, then he could run.
"From what I've been told, the chances of conditions being suitable are pretty slim. The track drains very well and the indications I am getting are that the ground is going to be on the firm side of good.
"The horse is absolutely fine and I'm on my knees already (praying for rain)."
Al Kazeem is likely to have one more run before a tilt at either the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on October 6 or the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot 13 days later.
Deer said: "I would think he'll have two more runs. He's entered in the Prix Foy at Longchamp (September 15) and then after that it's the Arc or the Champion Stakes.
"I never thought I'd be talking about one of my horses running in races like this, it's unbelievable. He's had a great year and he's just a fantastic horse."
The latest going report from Leopardstown will not make good reading for the Al Kazeem camp.
Conditions are currently described as firm, good to firm in places, with watering due to commence on Monday.
The Foxrock venue is forecast a largely dry week, with a slight chance of showers closer to the big day and Charlton said Al Kazeem would be a "doubtful starter" unless the rain arrives.
The Beckhampton handler told his website, www.rogercharlton.com: "Al Kazeem worked well at the weekend and he will be left in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
"James Doyle walked the course (on Sunday) before his second Group One winner at the Curragh and described the ground as being very quick.
"So unless there is a change in the weather forecast before the weekend Al Kazeem is looking a doubtful starter. A decision will be taken nearer the time."