Al Kazeem once again outbattled Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Mukhadram to land the Eclipse Stakes in dramatic circumstances at Sandown Park.
Horse racing: Al Kazeem eclipses Mukhadram again
SANDOWN PARK, ENGLAND // Al Kazeem made it a Group 1 hat-trick in the space of just six weeks when he once again outbattled Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Mukhadram to land the Eclipse Stakes in dramatic circumstances on Saturday.
Just last month Al Kazeem and Mukhadram had been involved in a spine-tingling tussle in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in which Al Kazeem prevailed by a neck.
The two horses were once again locked in a duel all the way down the punishing Sandown straight. Paul Hanagan had led for most of the way in the ten-furlong Group 1 contest but this time James Doyle was wiser to the tactic.
Al Kazeem drew up alongside Mukhadram with two furlongs to go and although the younger horse battled far more gamely than at Ascot, by the time Al Kazeem swerved badly to barge Mukhadram into the rail it was over as a contest.
Declaration Of War picked up the pieces to take second under Joseph O'Brien, but Hanagan was adamant that his mount should not have finished third.
"We should have been second," the Shiekh's retained rider said. "Mukhadram was fighting back and I could feel him coming back to me."
The Prix de l'Arc de Triopmhe in Paris in October has long been the target for Al Kazeem but trainer Roger Charlton left the door open for perhaps further Group 1 tilts during the coming months.
"He ought to have a break now - but that is not my decision - but I think he deserves a break."
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