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Connections of Al Kazeem and Cirrus Des Aigles have ground for concerns

Updated: Monday, 02 Sep 2013 15:19 | Comments

Al Kazeem won his only previous start in Ireland when landing the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh
Al Kazeem won his only previous start in Ireland when landing the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh

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 6 October 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 (15 September) 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.

"Unless there is a change in the weather forecast before the weekend Al Kazeem is looking a doubtful starter" - Trainer Roger Charlton on the prospects of his stable star appearing at Leopardstown 

The Foxrock venue is forecast a largely dry week, with a slight chance of showers closer to the big day.

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."

French star Cirrus Des Aigles also features among 13 confirmations, but connections are similarly hoping for a change in conditions.

Trainer Corine Barande-Barbe said: "The owner wants to wait and see whether there is going to be any rain in Ireland, so we have left him in the race once more.

"If there is plenty of rain then he will run, but if there is no rain he will not.

"If he does not run on Saturday, he will run in the Prix Dollar at Longchamp (5 October) and then the Champion Stakes at Ascot (19 October)."

Cirrus Des Aigles began the season as the world's highest-rated racehorse, but has been disappointing in four starts this year.

Barande-Barbe remains confident the seven-year-old will bounce back to his best.

"He is absolutely fine and didn't have a hard race at Deauville last time," said the trainer.

"The race did not suit him and I think he thought, 'Not today'.

"He was not blowing as much as the other horses after the race.

"He will be fine when the race suits him better. He is probably better over the mile and a quarter than he is over the mile and a half."

Aidan O'Brien has an incredibly strong hand having left in Camelot, Declaration Of War, Triumphant, Kingsbarns, Magician and Ruler Of The World.

Yorkshire Oaks heroine The Fugue is an intriguing contender for John Gosden, while Jim Bolger has confirmed Parish Hall and Trading Leather.

The field is completed by the Dermot Weld-trained Princess Highway and John Murphy's likely outsider Euphrasia.

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