/ Racing

Al Kazeem trainer Roger Charlton praying for rain at Leopardstown

Updated: Friday, 06 Sep 2013 12:10 | Comments

Al Kazeem needs rain according to trainer Roger Charlton
Al Kazeem needs rain according to trainer Roger Charlton

Roger Charlton is praying the forecast rain at Leopardstown materialises after Al Kazeem set off on the journey to Ireland for Saturday's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes.

The five-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding season so far, completing a Group One hat-trick with victories in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

He suffered his first defeat of the campaign when third in a fast-ground Juddmonte International at York and was declared a "doubtful" starter in this weekend's Group One highlight earlier in the week, when similar conditions seemed likely.

However, the weather has since taken a turn for the worse and Leopardstown could be hit by as much as 20 millimetres of rain in the next 24 hours, but Charlton is taking nothing for granted.

"Al Kazeem left Beckhampton at 8am this morning (Friday) to start his long journey to Ireland in the hope that there will be some rain at Leopardstown before racing tomorrow evening," the trainer told his website www.rogercharlton.com.

"The weather forecast seems to change by the hour and there is a wide range of opinions as to how much they will get.

"The gun is loaded so fingers crossed yet again."

In complete contrast, John Gosden's brilliant filly The Fugue relishes a fast surface, as she showed when running out a scintillating winner of last month's Yorkshire Oaks.

The four-year-old looked set to get her conditions at the start of the week, but the prospect of heavy rain is clearly a worry for her connections.

Gosden said: "She's very well, but obviously we are watching very carefully what happens (with the weather).

"Obviously we would be very concerned (if there is excessive rainfall) but things are changing all the time."

Speaking earlier in the week, jockey William Buick appeared confident about The Fugue's chances.

He told At The Races: "It was great to see her back to her best (at York). It was a great performance from her and I was very pleased for the filly and all her connections.

"It's going to be a tough race, taking on the colts, but hopefully the ground will be in her favour and I can't see the track being a problem either.

"When they turn in at Leopardstown, you have to have that bit of speed and she has that.

"Her entries in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Eclipse - I don't think she was there to make up the numbers.

"It's a hard task, but she goes there in good form.

"She's held in high regard by everybody. Let's hope we can get lucky."

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