RACING: Charlton's Bird is retired

This Is Wiltshire: Roger Charlton Roger Charlton

BECKHAMPTON trainer Roger Charlton's Pretty Polly Stakes winner Thistle Bird has been retired to stud due to injury.

At the top of her game at the fairly advanced age of six, the Selkirk mare won eight of her 20 starts, including consecutive victories in the Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom and three Listed events.

Her final start was that maiden Group One win at the Curragh at the end of June, and she will head to the Rothschild family's stud in Buckinghamshire.

"Thistle Bird has been retired and she will be returning home to Waddesdon Stud in the next few days," the trainer told www.rogercharlton.com.

"The injury that she picked up a few days before the Nassau Stakes will take time to heal and very sensibly her owner Lady Rothschild has decided not to risk her on a racecourse again.

"She has been a very tough and consistent mare and she has always fought so hard in all of her 20 races.

"Her lad Jeta Ram has cared for her every need with great pride and he has 'sat and suffered' on her for four seasons and he deserves a special mention. We look forward to her children coming to school at Beckhampton in due course."

Meanwhile, Charlton's Al Kazeem has been earmarked to run in the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor later this month before connections set sail in pursuit of further top-level success.

The horse made a rather inauspicious comeback from an aborted stud career at Newbury in July, when he could finish only fourth in a Listed race.

But that was the six-year-old entire's first outing since he finished sixth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last October, with owner-breeder John Deer banking on improvement in the Group Three Winter Hill on August 23.

Should things go smoothly at Windsor, Al Kazeem will promptly return to the top table, with races like the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, the Arc and the Champion Stakes at Ascot all under scrutiny.

Deer said: "He's doing well and is a lot fitter than when he was fourth.

"He obviously needed that Newbury race a great deal, so we were not too disheartened.

"He's entered in the Irish Champion and the Arc, and he'll also be put in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

"But the plan before that is that he's going to be running in a Group Three at Windsor and then we'll take it from there.

"If he didn't win that you'd be worried, but Roger thinks we can get him back, and I do, too."

Al Kazeem made huge gains last season, winning three Group One races, including the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

He was bought by the Queen after his retirement from racing, but was found to be subfertile and returned to Charlton's Beckhampton stables.

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND WILTSHIRE TIMES

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