/ Racing

Owner John Deer believes Al Kazeem ticks all the boxes for the Juddmonte International Stakes

Updated: Monday, 19 Aug 2013 20:40 | Comments

Al Kazeem is unbeaten in 2013
Al Kazeem is unbeaten in 2013

Al Kazeem's owner John Deer feels his horse's proven ability over a mile and a quarter can be the difference in his clash with Toronado in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

Richard Hannon made the announcement just before declaration time that Toronado would be involved in what is suddenly a far more competitive Group One event on the Knavesmire.

It will be a first attempt beyond a mile for Hannon's High Chaparral colt, who finally avenged two defeats by Dawn Approach when mastering the chestnut in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Al Kazeem, trained by Roger Charlton, is around an even-money favourite as he tries to extend his four-race unbeaten streak.

After his first Group One triumph over Camelot in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, he was the unequivocal highlight of jockey James Doyle's Royal Ascot treble in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. 

He cemented his position at the top of the European pecking order in the Coral-Eclipse.

Al Kazeem will have to compete without the on-course support of the man who has played the most important role in his life.

Deer, who bred the son of Dubawi from his Oakgrove Stud in Chepstow, is required on a family holiday in Normandy.

"Unfortunately we booked it a long time ago, so I'm going to have to watch it on the laptop," he said.

"It's going to be an interesting race. I know Roger's very happy with him, he has come back from his break and he did a nice piece of work last week which James was happy with.

"Our fellow has solid form over a mile and a quarter and the course should suit him, so hopefully James should be able to wind him up for the last couple of furlongs.

"Toronado will be going into unknown territory then, and hopefully we can come out on top.

"We were hoping for a bit of rain so there was some give in the ground, but he does have form on good to firm anyway."

Deer remains relaxed about Al Kazeem's end-of-season target, but suggested the five-year-old may end up at Ascot rather than Longchamp.

He said: "We're playing it by ear and it depends what happens.

"He's in the Irish Champion Stakes, we'll see about that, and then it could be the Champion Stakes or it could be the Arc.

"I've got a feeling he'll go for the Champion Stakes, but he'll be entered in both."

The ground should not be an issue for Toronado, although a caveat was mentioned in a brief statement on www.richardhannonracing.co.uk which said: "The plan is to run as long as there is not heavy rain."

"Toronado will be going into unknown territory then, and hopefully we can come out on top" - John Deer, owner of Al Kazeem 

Aside from Toronado, there are two other three-year-olds in the line-up, in Irish Derby winner Trading Leather and Royal Ascot scorer Hillstar.

The pair have already met, with Trading Leather three-quarters of a length ahead when they were a respective second and third in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Declaration Of War, who has been kept busy and was most recently fourth in the Prix Jacques Le Marois, is Aidan O'Brien's only representative, while James Toller's Rewarded completes the sextet.

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