Khaadem the Longest Priced Winner of the QEII Jubilee

June 24, 2023

Royal Ascot Recap, Day 5

By Michaela Moricova

The final day of Royal Ascot offered the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs, and it was quite fitting for the general theme of this year’s festival that a big outsider bagged the last G1. KHAADEM just delivered the best turn of foot among the sprinters and achieved the first G1 victory of his career. In the G2 Hardwicke Stakes, PYLEDRIVER commenced the season with a sure win, while Frankie Dettori didn’t add another triumph to his resume on Saturday. He finished the meeting with four wins over the course of five days, and in total, the count stopped at 81.

Khaadem Causes an Upset At 80/1 

Khaadem after his history-making victory (Megan Ridgwell)

The last G1 of Royal Ascot was run for the first time under the name the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, which used to be the Golden and then Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Sixteen horses clashed over the distance of six furlongs while some of them showed up also in Tuesday’s King Stand’s Stakes, including Highfield Princess (Hart). The six-year-old mare finished a close second behind Bradsell and had every chance of scoring on Saturday; however, a couple of rivals proved to be better this time.

Probably nobody had anticipated KHAADEM to win this. The seven-year-old gelding has always been a lovely sprinter to have in the barn, especially when he bagged the G2 King George Stakes in 2022. The son of Dark Angel didn’t appear to be in the best form possible in the ongoing season, though, given his mission in Dubai resulted only in sixth place in the G2 company, and upon his return to the UK, Khaadem failed to win even a Listed. Still, he grabbed a close third, so the performance had a certain value; however, it didn’t placed him in the spotlight for the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. And yet, the Charlie Hills trained bay defied the odds and earned his premiere G1 win at 80/1.

Under Jamie Spencer, he galloped at the rear of the far group, then smoothly joined the leading horses, and outbattled brilliantly going Sacred (Marquand). Khaadem triumphed in 1m 12.42s, with Sacred finishing second by a neck. Preferred Highfield Princess ran in the second group, therefore, had no one to battle against and had to settle for third place; still, both her this week’s efforts have been admirable. Australian Artorius (McDonald) was fourth as he couldn’t hold a candle to the top three, which also applies to fifth, The Astrologist (Lane), another Australian in the race. The best sprinter in Hong Kong, Wellington (Moore), didn’t have a bright moment and couldn’t get past 10th place.

Pyledriver is Back. Again.

Pyledriver returns to the races with a bang (Megan Ridgwell)

Winning a big one, suffering a setback, returning with a win, and so on. That’s one way to describe PYLEDRIVER’s career as the six-year-old horse is talented yet keeps being denied more runs by constant setbacks. Those are not very serious but stand behind why William Muir and Chris Grassick trained bay doesn’t run often; however, when he does, he usually fights the win. In July 2022, Pyledriver achieved one of his two G1 wins as he smoothly bagged King George IV and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, fighting off a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Torquator Tasso. Although he hasn’t hit the track since then, he was stunning in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes over a mile and a half.

Under PJ McDonald, Pyledriver settled in third, and when the jockey nudged him forward in the final stretch, the big bay answered with his usual turn of foot. The following maneuver, in which McDonald took Pyledriver to the rails, brought the result to the steward’s room, but after all, everybody saw which horse was the best in the field. Crossing the wire in 2m 29.60s, Pyledriver won by one and ¼ of a length to second West Wind Blows (Spencer), with Changingoftheguard (Moore) in third.

Contributing Authors

Michaela Moricova, Past The Wire

Michaela Moricova

Michaela Moricová has been writing about horse racing since high school. At first, only via Facebook, where a group of enthusiasts noticed her and offered...

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