Shadwell legend SAKHEE, crowned Europe’s champion older horse in 2001, was put down on Friday due to the infirmities of old age. He was 24.
SAKHEE was bred by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and was the best performer sired by Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner BAHRI. He was one of eight winners out of the SADLER’S WELLS mare THAWAKIB, whose biggest success came in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After being born and raised at Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Farm in Kentucky, it was only fitting that SAKHEE was sent to Arundel to be trained by John Dunlop, as he had overseen the careers of both BAHRI and THAWAKIB.
SAKHEE scored in two of his three starts at two, but it was during his Classic season at three that he really began to thrive.
Victories in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown and Group 2 Dante Stakes at York were followed by an agonising second-place finish in the Derby, in which he was headed in the final 150 yards by SINNDAR.
SAKHEE was transferred to the yard of Saeed bin Suroor to carry the colours of Godolphin at four. He developed into Europe’s leading middle-distance horse with a pair of top-flight wins in the Juddmonte International, in which he beat GRANDERA by seven lengths, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in which he blitzed his rivals who included AQUARELLISTE, GOLAN and MILAN. His margin of success at Paris was an impressive six lengths.
He concluded his three-year-old campaign at Belmont Park in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and after a ding-dong battle with TIZNOW in the home stretch, he was denied by just a nose to finish second.
SAKHEE made a winning reappearance at Nad Al Sheba at five before finishing third to STREET CRY in the Dubai World Cup. He ended his career that season having amassed total prize-money of £2,207,096.
SAKHEE was retired to Nunnery Stud for the 2003 breeding season.
He sired several leading lights headed by SAKHEE’S SECRET, whose biggest triumph came in the Group 1 July Cup, in which he beat DUTCH ART by half a length under a power-packed ride from Steve Drowne.
He was also responsible for Luca Cumani’s globetrotting Group 1 winner PRESVIS, whose career yielded more than £4 million in prize-money, and the Poule d’Essai des Poulains hero TIN HORSE.
SAKHEE had been living out a happy retirement at Nunnery Stud since his retirement from breeding at the end of 2016. He will be much missed by everyone in the Shadwell operation.