Khaadem gives Hills a record fifth King George Qatar Stakes success
Charlie Hills has dominated the G2 King George Qatar Stakes in recent years with Battaash and the Lambourn trainer continued his exceptional record in the five-furlong feature with Khaadem (8/1).
Khaadem, whose owner Fitri Hay was in the winner’s enclosure with Royal Scotsman on Thursday, saw his race out strongly to hold off the fast-finishing Raasel (3/1F) by a neck. Caturra (22/1) was three quarter a length a further back in third.
This was a second high-profile sprint success at the Qatar Goodwood Festival for Khaadem, following his Stewards’ Cup triumph in 2019, and a third winner of the week for jockey Ryan Moore.
Hills said: “It has always been the plan to come here. The track suits and he has won here before in the Stewards’ Cup. He is getting faster with age, and today he was so relaxed, which is not like him.
“I said to Ryan that he was held up when he won the Stewards’ Cup, so ride him how you want. He has won a couple of times making all, but he does not have to be ridden that way. Ryan gave him a peach. The way the race unfolded, they all came down the one side, and that opened everything up. He likes a bit of space in his races.
“He is a good horse, a very good horse with a lot of speed. Ryan was very positive after and we will look now for a Group One, the Nunthorpe or wherever.
“He is growing up. Sprinters can take their time. As a three-year-old he had a fantastic season, but it then did not quite work for him as a four-year-old. When Baattash won this day, Khaadem won the Stewards’ Cup the next day and someone told me that he clocked a quicker sectional.
“We went then to a Haydock Sprint Cup and have always thought he could get to the top table. Maybe it’s age, maturity or being cut. He wears a red hood, blinkers – he is not tricky, just a bit quirky.”
Moore said: “Khaadem has shown already this year how good he is in the Palace House Stakes. It is the first time I’ve sat on him and the plan was not to be dropping him in. They went very hard and the pace was either side of me. Because he usually leads, I ended up taking it up too soon and he was waiting in front.
“He won the Stewards’ Cup over six furlongs and has won this over five. He can win dropped in or from the front. He is a very good horse.”
Jim Hay, husband of winning owner Fitri, said: “We have always thought that Khaadem was a class horse. We were hopeful that he would deliver on our expectations, and he did. That was perfect, and a great training performance from Charlie.
“I could not split Khaadem and our other runner Equilateral [8th], as they are neck and neck on the gallops. Equilateral did everything we wanted from him. He ran a great race and will win a big one at some point.
“Goodwood is a fantastic track, a lucky place. We’ve had a great week and we run General Lee tomorrow. He was injured and has recovered – he should run a good race.”
Raasel’s trainer Mick Appleby said: “Raasel has run a blinder. James just said at halfway he hit a false bit of ground and that is when he had just come off the bridle. The ground may be overwatered for him and he likes a quicker surface. He has run a blinder and the winner Khaadem is a very good horse, so we’re not disappointed at all. Raasel is definitely a Group Two horse. I would imagine it will be the Nunthorpe and the Flying Five now.”
Clive Cox said of Caturra: “It was a very pleasing run. He probably got a little bit outpaced for the first furlong down the hill, but really hit the line well. I am delighted, that was a very good performance. He is a horse that really came into himself for the second part of last year, so I’m quite excited. He isn’t that ground dependent, so we can look at all the nice five-furlong races from here on.”
3.35pm King George Qatar Stakes (Group 2)
1 Khaadem (Fitri Hay) Charlie Hills 6-9-04 Ryan Moore 8/1
2 Raasel (The Horse Watchers) Mick Appleby 5-9-04 James Doyle 3/1F
3 Caturra (Saeed bin Mohammed Al Qassimi) Clive Cox 3-9-00 Tom Marquand 22/1
Charlie Hills – 14th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner
Ryan Moore – 57th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner