Khaadem Shows Age Is Just A Number

A double for the old man

Khaadem etched his name further into the history books at Royal Ascot on Saturday in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, becoming the first eight-year-old to triumph and the first back-to-back winner since Right Boy in 1958/59.

Trained by Charlie Hills, Khaadem returned at odds of 14/1, having been the longest-priced winner in modern times last year when scoring at 80/1 under Jamie Spencer.

Oisin Murphy delivers Khaadem late to beat Swingalong (Pic – Megan Coggin)

Ridden today by Oisin Murphy, Khaadem was again delivered late to deny Swingalong by half a length, with Mill Stream a length and a quarter further back in third. The 3/1 favourite Believing finished fourth.

Khaadem carries the colours of Fitri Hay, who was also represented by the Hills-trained Mitbaahy. He finished seventh of the 13 runners under Spencer.

Hills said: “What a horse, to win two of these races, plus a Palace House, Stewards’ Cup, King George at Goodwood. He is a very good horse.

“He got a fantastic ride there off the pace and he never looked like he was going to get beat; he travelled beautifully through the race. He loves the place and it’s the first time he’s had the ground, pretty much since he ran here last time. I think fast ground is key to him. He had a lovely pitch, they went a good strong pace in front, but he just travels so well. He’s such a versatile horse; he was making the running over five furlongs two years ago. I just really felt there’s a different trajectory to running like a good horse over six, and it seems to have suited him very well.

“He’s a wonderful horse – you just wouldn’t know! He’s got a huge amount of ability, but he’s different [at home] one day to the next. One day he’ll pick up the bridle and you think he’s Nijinksy, the next you think he’s like a plater. He knows more about the game than any of us, I think. He’s a hugely talented horse and has been an absolute pleasure to train.

“It’s easy to say after the event, but I’d say that last year’s race was probably more competitive than this one. I thought he always looked like he was the winner. He’s had so many top jockeys on him over the years – Ryan Moore’s won on him, James Doyle, Jamie Spencer, William Buick. They’ve all sat on him over the years and now another one in Oisin.”

Murphy said: “What an amazing horse; eight years of age and back-to-back wins in the race – an incredible training performance from Charlie Hills and his team. Wonderful.

“I thought for the majority of the last two furlongs, he would win, and I was able to enjoy it a little bit. There was a lot of speed on, particularly after a furlong. When it began to slow down late on he came alive. I just wanted to copy Jamie Spencer from last year!”

He added: “I didn’t expect the race to happen how it did as I jumped better than he normally gets away. There were four of us in a line and none of us intended laying up with the front group. There was a bit of a scrum and the group to our right was five lengths in front of us. Fortunately, I didn’t rush up to them because there was no pressure, and as they slowed down, I crept… Listen, the horse loves Ascot and he was well-prepared. It was a pretty easy ride.”

Dr Jim Hay said: “Khaadem never gives up. He doesn’t know he’s eight years old. He thinks he’s three, or two or something, and he just keeps going. He loves this ground, he loves Ascot and he just goes. Last year I couldn’t believe he was 80/1 – I just thought that was the most stupid odds I’d ever seen in my life. Today I think he was 14/1; still quite long odds for a horse of his ability. You cannot underestimate him. To have a horse running here is a huge privilege; to have a horse winning here is unbelievable.”

Karl Burke said of Swingalong: “We are delighted with the run. I am gutted to be beaten, but she’s run her heart out and I can’t complain. We thought we had it a furlong out. She loves this track, it plays to her strengths. She is in at Newmarket [July Cup]. I am not sure that track plays to her strengths, but it might be a case where we have to go as she was kept in training to run in these Group Ones, and to try and win one. I thought we had pulled it off there!”

Clifford Lee added: “Swingalong ran a fantastic race. Ideally, I could have held onto her a few more strides, but she’s run a great race and we are delighted with that run.”

Mill Stream’s trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said: “We are very pleased with that. It is his best run to date to be fair. William said it was a good run, a fair run, and it is his best to date, so we can’t complain. We will head to Deauville for the Prix Maurice de Gheest.”

Khaadem wins the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (credit: Megan Coggin)

  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)

1 Khaadem (Fitri Hay) Charlie Hills 8-9-05 Oisin Murphy 14/1

2 Swingalong (Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum) Karl Burke 4-9-02 Clifford Lee 14/1

3 Mill Stream (Peter Harris) Jane Chapple-Hyam 4-9-05 William Buick 9/2

13 ran                 3/1F Believing (4th)

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