Kazeem in Irish Champion frame
A tilt at next month's Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown could be back on the agenda for Al Kazeem after the multiple Group One winner got back on the winning trail at Windsor last Saturday.
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The six-year-old was retired to stud at the end of last year after a stunning campaign which saw him land the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and Sandown's Coral-Eclipse.
However, after proving sub-fertile at the Royal Studs in Sandringham, he returned to training with Roger Charlton, back in the colours of previous owner John Deer.
Following a pleasing reappearance in a Listed race at Newbury, Al Kazeem was an odds-on favourite for last weekend's Winter Hill Stakes and got the job done in impressive fashion in a course record time.
Speaking immediately after the race, Charlton was lukewarm on the idea of an appearance in the Irish Champion Stakes, a race in which he chased home The Fugue last September, but he has had a change of heart.
Speaking on his website www.rogercharlton.com, the trainer said: "Al Kazeem did all that could have been expected from him, returning to the winner's enclosure in great style and in the process lowering the course record by 1.33 seconds which I gather is the equivalent of seven or eight lengths.
"He has come out of his race well and he was his normal fresh and happy self this morning, in fact he dropped his regular rider whilst trotting.
"Unfortunately there are no Group races over nine or 10 furlongs in England during September so we have not ruled out the idea of returning to Leopardstown to run in the Irish Champion Stakes.
"There is also the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte Group Three in France over a straight 10 furlongs on September 19 as an alternative.
"After the race I had it in my mind that the Irish Champion Stakes was only 14 days away, it is in fact three weeks and it will at least help bring Al Kazeem forward another notch.
"Last season he achieved a Timeform rating of 128 when he won the Coral Eclipse, after his comeback race at Newbury he was given a rating of 108, Timeform have now raised his rating to 119+ so he is in within 9lb or three lengths of his career best.
"Interestingly the BHA handicapper has dropped him 6lb to a rating of 117.
"He clearly needs to improve again to have any chance of adding to his three Group Ones but it is not impossible and we both like a challenge."
Al Kazeem's owner is keen to see how his charge performs for the remainder of the season before deciding on his long-term future, but has raised the possibility of him staying in training in 2015.
Deer said: "We will see how he runs next time and if all goes well, we could end up in the big one (Champion Stakes) on Champions Day at Ascot.
"He was terrific on Saturday and it was a big relief. There are so many questions for a horse to answer when they come back from stud. He obviously still has the will to win, the other question is whether he still has his old ability.
"He's a very calm horse, which helps, so we'll see what happens.
"If he does seem to be back where he was before the end of this season, the right thing to do could be to send him back to Roger next season.
"He'd be a seven-year-old then and I wouldn't want him to go on any longer than that.
"He's obviously been sub-fertile, but hopefully he'll eventually retire to my own stud, Oakgrove Stud. We'll take our time with him and make sure he has a good life."