Al Kazeem: Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner heads to Sandown nextPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Eclipse the new target for Ascot hero Al Kazeem
ROYAL Ascot hero Al Kazeem will make his next start in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and not the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at Ascot.
Al Kazeem had been a general 2-1 favourite for the King George after connections suggested that would be the next big-race target but trainer Roger Charlton revealed a change of plan at Windsor on Monday evening.
"Al Kazeem might be best at a mile and a half but the plan is that we will run in the Eclipse and not the King George," said Charlton.
He added that the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe remains the ultimate target for last week's Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner and felt the Eclipse, followed by the Irish Champion Stakes, fitted in best with Longchamp's October 6 showpiece.
Charlton said: "The Eclipse will be followed by the Irish Champion and then the Arc. That gives him two months off after Sandown and another month before the Arc."
Sponsors Coral reacted to the announcement by cutting Al Kazeem to 2-1 favourite (from 5-2) for the Eclipse on July 6.
Spokesman Simon Clare said: "Al Kazeem has progressed enormously this season and after two Group 1 wins on the bounce he deserves to be the 2-1 favourite for the Coral-Eclipse.
"The Eclipse is never an easy race to win but he was very impressive at Ascot and now it is a case of waiting to see which of the other big guns in the betting take him on at Sandown."
In Al Kazeem's absence, Paddy Power make St Nicholas Abbey their 9-4 King George market leader, with Cirrus Des Aigles next best at 4-1.
Paddy Power said: "No doubt there will be celebrations at Ballydoyle tonight as it leaves St Nicholas Abbey a much easier task in the King George (July 27) and I doubt they'll be unduly concerned about Cirrus Des Aigles after Sunday's effort."