Dark Angel's Khaadem Upsets The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee

KhaademMegan Ridgwell


There are very few, if any, riders able to navigate Royal Ascot's straight course like Jamie Spencer and he used every bit of his mix of talent, guile and experience to steer the Charlie Hills-trained 80-1 shot Khaadem (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire})–White Daffodil {Ire}, by Footstepsinthesand {GB}) to glory in Saturday's feature G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee S. Like sweet medicine for these old campaigners who seem to have lost their way, the jockey who had partnered a 50-1 winner up the same strip on Thursday could be spotted some way out getting a rare tune out of Jim and Fitri Hay's flagbearer who had unshipped him behind the stalls and who had failed to come out of them in last year's G1 King's Stand S.

Relishing the hold-up tactics, last year's G2 King George V S. winner cut through the pack to overhaul Sacred (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) close home and had a neck to spare over Cheveley Park Stud's mare where it counted. There was a further 1 1/4 lengths back to the 11-4 favourite Highfield Princess (Fr) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), who was having her second group 1 start and was achieving her second placing of the week. Like her, the Australian raider Cannonball (Aus) (Capitalist {Aus}) was also coming back after the King's Stand but lost Danny Tudhope in the stalls.

“It's just amazing that we've got to where we have now at his age, but I have always had massive faith in this horse and that's why I've kept him for so long,” Charlie Hills said of the former Shadwell representative. “He won a group 2 last year over five, but this year I wanted to try and race him properly again and drop him in to make sure we got the six furlongs well. 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.”


It is a challenge to summarise the story of Khaadem, who started out in the royal blue and white and won Goodwood's prestigious Stewards' Cup as a 3-year-old before finishing fourth in this and the G1 July Cup the following season. One win in eight in 2021 meant he was let go by Shadwell and was reinvented as a five-furlong performer when bagging Newmarket's G3 Palace House S. and the King George back at Goodwood before another spell in the doldrums. After an uninspiring period in Meydan, he was back in Britain to warm up for this with a third in Salisbury's Listed Cathedral S. last month but had still offered little evidence that such a late career breakthrough was on the cards.

Reserved at the back of the six-strong group racing up the centre led by The Astrologist (Aus) (Zoustar {Aus}), at halfway Khaadem was about to unleash his full ability getting the Spencer treatment for the first time. Spencer just waits and waits up the straight course here and being the last to be asked a question was the key as the eventual winner was willing to give his all with Sacred his final target. Highfield Princess was forced to do her own work towards the stands' rail and gave another highly creditable display as she dominated that side.

“I felt no pressure,” Spencer said. “I followed Frankie and Tom 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's difficult for me to put into words what Jim and Fitri have been like as friends to me for a long time. Getting on the horses in group ones is the hardest part, but it's a fantastic day and I'm going to enjoy it.”

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 has run a great race and I am very proud of her.” Jason Hart said of Highfield Princess, “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.”

Pedigree Notes
By one of Royal Ascot's sire stars, Khaadem is out of White Daffodil whose prior best was Dark Angel's Listed Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy winner and G2 Norfolk S. and G2 Mill Reef S. runner-up Log Out Island (Ire). She is kin to three black-type performers headed by the Listed Carnarvon S. and Listed Prix Saraca winner Lady Links (GB) (Bahamian Bounty {GB}), who is also the dam of the Listed Oh So Sharp S. winner Selinka (GB) (Selkirk) who in turn produced the G3 Curragh S. and G3 Mercury S. winner Hit The Bid (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) and the Limestone S. scorer Ruthin (GB) (Ribchester {Ire}). From the family of the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest-winning sire Bold Edge (GB) (Beveled), White Daffodil's 3-year-old full-brother to Khaadem, Themainprotagonist (Ire), is a winner for this yard, while she also has a yearling filly again by Dark Angel.

Saturday, Royal Ascot, Britain
QUEEN ELIZABETH II JUBILEE S.-G1, £1,000,000, Ascot, 6-24, 4yo/up, 6fT, 1:12.42, g/f.
1–KHAADEM (IRE), 131, g, 7, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: White Daffodil (Ire), by Footstepsinthesand (GB)
2nd Dam: Sparky's Song (GB), by Electric (GB)
3rd Dam: Daring Ditty (GB), by Daring March (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (750,000gns Ylg '17 TATOCT). O-Mrs Fitri Hay; B-Yeomanstown Stud (IRE); T-Charles Hills; J-Jamie Spencer. £567,100. Lifetime Record: SP-UAE, 30-8-2-4, $1,412,909. *Full to Log Out Island (Ire), SW & MGSP-Eng, GSP-Ire & SP-Fr, $250,585. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Sacred (GB), 128, m, 5, Exceed And Excel (Aus)–Sacre Caroline, by Blame. 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O/B-Cheveley Park Stud Ltd (GB); T-William Haggas. £215,000.
3–Highfield Princess (Fr), 128, m, 6, Night of Thunder (Ire)–Pure Illusion (Ire), by Danehill. (29,000gns RNA Ylg '18 TATDEY). O/B-Trainers House Enterprises Ltd (FR); T-John Quinn. £107,600.
Margins: NK, 1 1/4, 1HF. Odds: 80.00, 9.00, 2.75.
Also Ran: Artorius (Aus), The Astrologist (Aus), Al Suhail (GB), Kinross (GB), Coeur de Pierre (Fr), Run To Freedom (GB), Wellington (Aus), Emaraaty Ana (GB), Art Power (Ire), Big Invasion, Sandrine (GB), Rohaan (Ire).

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