A humble horse, Al Kazeem, from Chepstow is ran in Europe’s richest horse race, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris this week.
His owner John Deer admitted it was rather incredible that the five year old horse led the British entrants in the Arc – and the horse did his owner proud, finishing first out of the British challengers and sixth place overall.
Al Kazeem now gets to retire in splendour at the royal studs at Sandringham. His placing will have brought joy to some lucky punters who put money on his placing. The odds were changing right up to the event, particularly with Frankie Dettori’s last minute injury throwing him out of the competition.
Detorri broke his ankle in a freak fall in the week before the Arc and then had to watch someone else ride the horse he would have been riding – to a glorious finish. Treve, the winning horse ran away with the substitute rider Thierry Jarnet and won in absolutely spectacular style – something that the bookies and punters probably didn’t predict.
But Deer can also be justifiably proud of Al Kazeem, who also won three Group One races this year.
Deer seemed rather shocked at Al Kazeem’s form himself, and was quoted a saying: “Who’d have believed that I’d breed a horse as good as this – it’s quite incredible, amazing.
Al Kazeem was ridden by jockey James Doyle, and together they have amassed winnings of over £800,000. He was also the very first horse born, bred and owned in Wales to enter the Arc, although he does have some impressive stock with a bloodline stretching back to Mill Reef, who won the Arc in 1971.
It was an extremely high class field to be racing against, particularly for a horse’s very first Arc, with the winner commonly being regarded as the best horse in the world. On the day, Al Kazeem may not have won the race, but he is a winner in the eyes of his breeder, his fans and his rider.