According to several reliable news outlets today, the three-time Group 1 winner Al Kazeem is set to return to the racetrack this Summer following an unsuccessful interlude at stud.
The Royal Ascot winner was purchased to stand at the Queen’s stud at Sandringham and breeding rights were syndicated to some of the world’s top breeders. Fortunately for racing enthusiasts (unfortunately for the insurers), Al Kazeem has been diagnosed as being "sub-fertile" and the syndicate members are now seeking to claim on their fertility insurance. Hands up if you knew that such a thing even existed… go to the top of the class.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio released details of research this week, demonstrating that the consumption of more tomatoes can aid fertility. Apparently lycopene, the substance which gives tomatoes their red colour, can boost sperm production by 70%. Presumably tomatoes will appear on the royal menu for all stallions from now on.
Frankly, I’m surprised that it hasn’t already – the standard of care for horses in the racing and thoroughbred breeding industries is so high that no stone is left unturned. Today, in preparation for racing in just over two weeks time, we are meeting with our racecourse vets to review protocols for the treatment of horses appearing at Cartmel. The preparations are stringent and our procedures will be audited by representatives from the British Horseracing Authority whilst racing is taking place later in the year.
Similar checks are in place for the jockeys and our doctors have to be highly qualified to pass muster. One candidate, who has completed scores of training courses and is qualified to operate in virtually any country, in any situation - from battle-fields to earthquakes, has been told that he will have to wait a further year before he is allowed to act in an official capacity on the racecourse – he requires a minimum of six years experience, despite his outstanding CV.
Jockeys’ diets are also on the agenda and our caterers will be following the nutritional advice passed down by the Racecourse Association for their health and welfare. Funnily enough, this includes lots of tomatoes – which is probably a good thing, given the number of sperm-killing hot saunas they take in order to shed weight before racing commences.
Sticking to the theme, I’m tempted to tip Last Of The Oats in the final race at Hexham on Saturday. However, he’s never run before and I have no inside intelligence, so instead I’ll be backing Jimmy Moffatt’s Quel Elite in an earlier race on the same card.