Al Kazeem winning the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown last yearPICTURE: Getty Images
Al Kazeem in shock return to training
LAST season's triple Group 1 winner Al Kazeem has returned to training with Roger Charlton after proving subfertile at stud.
The son of Dubawi was bought by the Queen after his retirement from racing and syndicated among the world's leading breeders, with Sheikh Joaan Al Thani taking a significant share.
He began his stallion career at the Royal Studs in Sandringham this year, but did not reach the required fertility levels and was the subject of an insurance claim. It is understood he has around 25 mares in foal.
John Deer, who bred and raced Al Kazeem, negotiated with the insurance underwriters to buy back his star performer and the six-year-old returned to Charlton's Beckhampton House Stables on Wednesday.
The Queen's racing manager John Warren said: "It's a great tragedy that Al Kazeem did not fulfil his potential fertility-wise, as he was supported by an outstanding group of shareholders and was given the best possible opportunities.
"He was a pleasure to work with and everyone at the Royal Studs will be sorry to lose him.
"The Queen was particularly disappointed, but made the comment that, sadly, horses will always have the last word.
"She is delighted Al Kazeem has gone back to Mr Deer, as he will give the horse a good home."
Al Kazeem's subfertility is a huge blow for European breeders, as he developed into one of the leading middle-distance performers in Europe, firing in three consecutive Group 1 victories in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Prince of Wales's Stakes and Eclipse last year. He also finished placed in the Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes, and signed off his racing career with a creditable sixth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Noted for his impressive looks, he was also a precious stallion son of Dubawi - who supplied his second 2,000 Guineas winner, Night Of Thunder, on Saturday - and hailed from a talented family.
Deer indicated there were no firm plans for Al Kazeem's racing programme this year.
"The plan is to give the horse a gentle introduction back into training - we have no objectives in mind," he said.
"Hopefully he can win a nice race, maybe not a Group 1. We will rely on him to tell us when and if he's back to peak race fitness.
"We're not going to push him. He doesn't owe me anything and we'll look after him."
Deer sent three mares from his Oakgrove Stud in Chepstow to Al Kazeem, none of whom got in foal. He added the horse may get a second chance as a stallion, but in a private capacity.
"We'll stand him at Oakgrove and certainly be sending mares to him next year," he said. "It's bitterly disappointing that we don't have a mare in foal to him, but if I can't have Al Kazeem as a stallion I'll try to breed a stallion from him!"