Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)
Al Kazeem provided Roger Charlton with his first British Group 1 for nine years as he reeled in the strong Mukhadram in the final stages of the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes.
Benefitting from an intelligent front end ride under Paul Hanagan, Mukhadram turned into the Ascot straight with a healthy advantage and looked to be about to provide Sheikh Hamdan's retained jockey with their first Group 1 success since beginning the partnership.
With the furlongs rapidly disappearing in Mukhadram's favour, Al Kazeem pushed his way out of the following pack seemingly as the only horse with a chance of running down the front runner. Urging Al Kazeem for his all as Hanagan responded with requests from his own colt, the Ascot public were graced with yet another fantastic finish to the Prince of Wales' Stakes.
In the shadows of the post with a matter of strides left before the winner would reign supreme, James Doyle and Al Kazeem edged in front to claim their second Group 1 success of the season and remain unbeaten since returning from a season-ending injury of 2012. Camelot was comfortably beaten by his Tattersalls Gold Cup rival, finishing a disappointing fourth that'd further call into question the lofty reputation that had once gone before him in his Classic season.
"Paul gave his horse a fantastic ride and I was a little it concerned." said winning jockey James Doyle, "Every time I've sat on this horse he has filled me with great confidence. I got him to relax into a nice rhythm and once I got out I always felt that I was going to get there."
"I was worried but I could see the horse making a bit of progress down the straight" said Roger Charlton, "I really have to pay tribute to James. He is mature, sensible and we've always been asked why we don't get a jockey such as Johnny Murtagh on board but we've stuck with James and he continues to deliver."
"James is level headed and a very nice person to deal with. I have to give him confidence and he has to give me confidence and I couldn't ask for any more. He listens; I told him at the last race (Tattersalls Gold Cup) that it would be won or lost in the first two furlongs. Camelot would track him and try and do him for a turn of foot but he rode it beautifully. Today there were no instructions, he knew what to do."
"This horse won the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket possibly with a partially broken pelvis. We did lots of tests before that race as he didn't feel quite right but what we didn't do was a full bone scan which may have showed the start of a stress fracture. The vets gave us the all clear with those tests but we're very lucky that this horse didn't sustain a full broken pelvis as he certainly wouldn't be with us right now."
"If ultimately you feel that the Arc is the race to target, and I believe it is, then he may not run again after the King George. He's won on fast ground twice before but I'd be wary of running him on fast ground again too soon."
James Doyle exited the press conference soon after his own comments and was not around to hear the comments of his boss, but his ultimate tribute to the words uttered by Mr Charlton was a perfect response with victory in the next race, the Royal Hunt Cup, on board Belgian Bill.
"Royal Ascot is Royal Ascot , it's a great occasion. It's hard to take it all in but it's great t be a part of it and great to win here. This is the greatest meeting on earth."
Al Kazeem was installed as the general 8-1 second favourite for the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe immediately after the race by Paddy Power.