Al Kazeem back in the picture for Juddmonte

HORSE of the year Al Kazeem is now back on track to reappear in York’s Juddmonte International on August 21 – the day one highlight of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.

It was feared that Roger Charlton’s middle-distance champion might miss the £750,000 race because of fast ground on the Knavesmire, but it would appear recent rain has reassured connections.

Al Kazeem is one of the ante-post favourites for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh, the Prince of Wales’s stakes at Royal Ascot and Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse – all Group One contests – following a handful of tenacious rides by impressive jockey James Doyle.

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The five-year-old is owned by his breeder John Deer and victory over the likes of Irish Derby hero Trading Leather would be Al Kazeem’s fourth win on the bounce at the highest level.

“The owner is very keen to take one step at a time and the next step is the Juddmonte International,” said Charlton after a “very pleasing” gallop.

“I don’t think the Juddmonte was ever really off the agenda, the only race that had been was the King George.

“Nothing is set in stone and, as I said, it’s one step at a time.

“I’m very happy with the horse.”