Al Kazeem (right) edging out Mukhadram in the Prince Of Wales's StakesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Al Kazeem gets up in Prince of Wales's thriller
Report, Royal Ascot, Wednesday
Prince of Wales's Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, 4yo+
JAMES DOYLE rode a first Royal Ascot winner as Al Kazeem nailed front-running Mukhadram in a pulsating finish to the the feature race on day two of the meeting.
The Roger Charlton-trained five-year-old needed every yard of the 1m2f trip to get his head in front after Paul Hanagan, on board Mukhadram, had led the field along at speedy gallop from soon after the start.
Hanagan's mount put daylight between himself and his ten rivals turning for home and it was the astute Doyle who realised the danger, choosing to motor after Mukhadram before the others.
Crossing the line Al Kazeem, the uneasy 11-4 second favourite, had edged a neck in front of Mukhadram, with a further three-and-a-quarter lengths back to The Fugue who was flying at the death but had no chance of reeling in the pair in front of her.
Doyle said: "I had a moment's worry turning in because Paul Hanagan gave his horse a fantastic ride. He got the fractions right and filled him up at the right time, but he digs so deep and I'm very lucky to be sat on him.
"Winning here is magical really, it's what it is all about. All the hard work in the mornings, the late evening meetings, it does pay off."
Camelot was backed into 5-2 favouritism to turn the tables on Al Kazeem after being defeated by him in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month but he never looked like mounting a serious challenge at the business end of the race and finished fourth.
This was just the 11th start Al Kazeem was having after an injury interrupted career and Charlton said: "The name of the game is patience, as Sir Henry Cecil proved, but for that you need the owners.
"We've always thought he was a very good horse so we were happy to do that. You can't do it without the horse and as he's showed, he's so tough and genuine. I wasn't sure but James always seemed confident and I'm so pleased for him."
Al Kazeem was cut to 8-1 (from 12) for the Arc with Paddy Power, one of a number of options open to him now.
Charlton continued: "There are lots of lovely races for him, I've not spoken to the owners but I've always wanted a runner in the Arc. Soft ground would not inconvenience him and if we went that route then we could go for the King George and then there, we probably wouldn't go anywhere else as you don't want to look at prize-money and get too greedy. That said the Eclipse is in 17 days and he'd be favourite. We'll let the horse tell us."
Hanagan was surprised to learn he had been earning plaudits for his effort in the saddle."It couldn't have been that good a ride because he got beat," he said.
"It all went to plan and he jumped so well that I decided to make it.
"He gave me everything and I couldn't ask for any more. I think I was just beaten by a very good horse. When I kicked for home I thought I'd won it, I know it'd take a good one to beat me, he gave me everything so you can't knock him."
John Gosden, trainer of The Fugue, said: "She's run a good race. She finished very strongly. The first two were of a very high standard coming into the race and I was thrilled with her. We have Nassau, Eclipse, King Georges, we will look at all those races but the key thing is she likes this ground."
The Eclipse was also mentioned as a possible for Camelot, who was having his third start of the season having suffered from colic during the winter.
His trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "We would have preferred it if he came forward a bit more. The winner was very good today. He had a tough enough winter.
"They will tell you a big operation will take at least four months for a wound to heal. I've never really chased him, we've been letting the racing bring him but maybe it's time to chase him. We are very conscious of what he's been through but maybe we are at the stage where he needs to be chased after a bit.
"He has a lot of options, the Eclipse and all those races. We've got to where we are now, we've just got to change a few things."