Total Eclipse for Classy Al Kazeem
1 Al Kazeem 15/8F
Al Kazeem landed his third consecutive Group One contest when he won the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park.
Sent off the 15-8 favourite after winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup and the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, the Roger Charlton-trained five-year-old was settled in third for most of the way as Mukhadram led the way, just as he had done when they met at Royal Ascot.
Al Kazeem looked to have the front-runner's measure when brought up to challenge in the final quarter-mile by James Doyle and though he did Mukhadram no favours as he went past, he then raced clear to beat Aidan O'Brien's running-on challenger Declaration Of War by two lengths.
Doyle was handed a five-day ban (July 20-24) for careless riding by the stewards, who ruled he had allowed his mount to shift right-handed towards the rail, badly hampering Mukhadram. Paul Hanagan felt the interference cost him second place.
The winning jockey indicated he thought the ban was "harsh" and would study a recording of the race before deciding on a possible appeal.
He said: "I'm very lucky to be sat on his back, he's a good horse and he's proved that today. I was kind of hemmed in and when the split came I had to take it, but I ended up getting there sooner than I wanted. I had my stick in my right hand and when he got there he just pricked his ears and rolled in a bit. He won pretty well. It's a fantastic feeling."
Charlton added: "I was a little worried Joseph O'Brien (on Declaration Of War) might hem him in, which probably forced James's hand a little bit to get there maybe earlier than he wanted to get there.
"I'm immensely proud of him and my jockey, and the owner-breeder. I think it ought to be (a break) now, it's not my decision but I'd be reluctant to keep him going for the King George. He's had three races on pretty firm ground and I think he deserves a break.
"Then we can decide whether it's the Juddmonte International or the Irish Champion Stakes, but I would have thought the Irish Champion is better timing, and then it would be good to run in the Arc. I think the horse has shown he has terrific guts and bravery. He's progressed and I think he is a proper horse."
Aidan O'Brien said of Declaration Of War: "He ran a very good race, but he is probably a miler. He doesn't stop, but it is his courage that keeps him going. We'd be happy to go back to a mile, maybe for something like the Sussex Stakes."
Coral Eclipse (British Champions Series)
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