Khaadem lands Stewards' Cup gamble

Hills sprinter is class apart in Goodwood’s famous handicap

  • Saturday 03 August
  • News
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Khaadem landed an almighty gamble to turn the Unibet Stewards’ Cup into a near procession at Goodwood.

Only a three-year-old, Khaadem had finished second in a Group Three last time out and ended up being the proverbial Group horse in a handicap.

As big as 8-1 in the morning, he was steadily backed all day and was sent off the 4-1 favourite.

Representing owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, trainer Charlie Hills and jockey Jim Crowley – successful 24 hours earlier with Battaash in the Group Two King George Stakes – he demonstrated they have another sprint star on their hands.

Ornate finished third to Battaash on Friday and was turned out again quickly by David Griffiths – and at halfway, he was four lengths clear but had shot his bolt with a furlong to run.

By then Crowley was manoeuvring Khaadem up against the far rail to make his challenge – and when he got to the front, the race was over.

Khaadem ran out a two-and-three-quarter-length winner from Open Wide, with Raucous third and Summerghand fourth.

Hills said: “I so enjoyed that – everything went perfectly really.

“Three-year-olds have got a pretty good record in this race recently. I am sure that he could get seven furlongs if we wanted to go that route, but he is the most beautiful-looking horse.

“He is growing up with every race that he has, and we have to look at a Group race next. He is a class horse and is only going to get better and better, so I think we have to go to the top table with him.

“I guess we will have to look at the (Sprint Cup) at Haydock. Magical Memory won this race, and just got touched off there. I think this fellow is a very good horse.

“I think he could be a Group horse – I think he’s up to that.

“He did it really impressively today – I was really impressed with the way he behaved.

“He was a little bit mentally not quite on his A game earlier in the year; he had to have a hood on in the preliminaries, but now he’s growing up and starting to become a man. I hope we’ve got a tremendous future with this horse.

“He had a dirty scope after the Commonwealth Cup (at Royal Ascot); he just wasn’t right. He was just so lethargic that day, and I had really fancied him, but at least we had an excuse for that and we’ve put that to bed now. His last two races have been fantastic.”

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