Khaadem after his history-making victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee (Megan Ridgwell)
Ascot Racecourse Press Release
Khaadem (80/1) became the longest-priced winner of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes thanks to a textbook hold-up ride from Jamie Spencer.
The Fitri Hay-owned seven-year-old, who was withdrawn from last year’s King’s Stand Stakes after sitting down in the stalls, was ridden cold by Spencer before latching on to the strong-travelling Sacred with two furlongs remaining.
Sacred made her bid for glory soon after but Khaadem always looked to have the move covered, ultimately wearing her down in the closing strides to score by a neck. The third home Highfield Princess did best of those nearest the stands’ side, following up her second in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes.
The race set a new turnover record for a World Pool race, with the HK$66.2m (£6.6m) wagered topping the previous record of HK$66.1m bet on the 2022 Derby.
Winning trainer Charlie Hills said: “Khaadem does have his quirks but most sprinters do. It’s just amazing that we’ve got to where we have now at his age. I have always had massive faith in this horse, that’s why I’ve kept him for so long.
“He won a Group 2 last year over five, and that’s what we were sort of doing. But this year, I wanted to try and race him properly again, drop him in, and make sure we got the six furlongs well. He won the Stewards’ Cup as a three-year-old, so the trip was never a concern, but he is very fast.
“He is a high-energised horse, who has just taken time to come to himself. Jamie Insole rides him out every morning and there has been a great team effort with this horse through his career. It really is the icing on the cake today.”
He added: “We have been trying to win this for a while and had some good chances over the years. We’ve had a tough week this week and to win a race like this – the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee – is just fantastic.”
Spencer said: “I felt no pressure. I followed Frankie [Dettori on Kinross] and Tom [Marquand on runner-up Sacred] and could see Tom was going well at halfway. So just like in a cycling race you let him do the work for you and, you hope that when you pull out, you have a little bit to fire.
“It is difficult for me to put into words what Jim and Fitri [Hay] have been like as friends to me for a long time. Even my children are watching now and, in years before, when I was flying at this meeting, they were too young to understand – now it’s nice when you get texts from them saying well done.
“Winning Group Ones is hard, and getting on the horses in Group Ones is the hardest part, but it’s a fantastic day and I’m going to enjoy it. I sit beside Frankie in the weighing room. It was looking bleak in the last few days having to listen to him, and even one of my friends said ‘he’s going to be insufferable’ after Coppice won [yesterday’s Sandringham Stakes] – at least I’ve had a little bit of a fightback.”
Sacred’s trainer William Haggas said: “It is mixed emotions. I am thrilled with the way she has run, but gutted that she has got caught. She got left a bit in front, that was the problem. She was travelling so well, and she has gone to win her race but didn’t win! That’s racing. She has run a great race and I am very proud of her.”
Tom Marquand added: “Sacred has run superbly but you can’t help but feel a bit sick about it.”
Jason Hart said of Highfield Princess: “Funny kind of thing – I don’t know how many times we have run against Khaadem but every time we have beaten him. Maybe it is down to different track position, and they were always up on me on the other side. I felt her battle for me all the way to the line, and she has run her race.”
Australian raider Artorius finished fourth. Co-trainer Sam Freedman said: “He has run another good, honest race. It probably didn’t pan out exactly how we wanted. He began really well – he had two stalls empty next to him [due to the configuration of the stalls], which got him into a great spot. He probably needed something in front of him for that last 100-150m.
“James [McDonald] got him into a good spot and he finished off really well. He has run another good race against the best sprinters over here and, if that’s a bad day for Artorius, he is still running fourth in a G1. I would say that’s him off to stud now and it has been a pleasure.”
3.40pm Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
- Khaadem (Fitri Hay) Charlie Hills 7-9-05 Jamie Spencer 80/1
- Sacred (Cheveley Park Stud) William Haggas 5-9-02 Tom Marquand 9/1
- Highfield Princess (Trainers House Enterprises Ltd) John Quinn 6-9-02 Jason Hart 11/4F
Charlie Hills – 7th Royal Ascot winner
Jamie Spencer – 28th Royal Ascot winner