Godolphin's Sakhee, winner of last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic, has been retired to Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud in Norfolk, England, where he will stand for a fee of £20,000 (approximately $32,000 USD).
Sakhee had been preparing for Saturday's Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket, but it was decided instead to retire the son of Bahri.
"Sakhee's campaign has been held up this year owing to the fact that his knee problem meant that we couldn't possibly risk him on the firm ground that has prevailed for so long both at home and on the racecourse," Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said. "Sakhee has been a great champion for Godolphin and his stunning victory in the Arc last year and brilliant run in the Breeders' Cup Classic were the highlights for us. It is a great shame that he will not make the Champion Stakes."
Following Sakhee's brilliant campaign last year, in which he won the Arc by six lengths and the Juddmonte International by seven lengths, and was beaten a nose by Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic, much was expected of the colt in 2002. But following a third-place finish in the Dubai World Cup, he was sidelined for the spring and summer, resurfacing in the Prix Gontaut-Biron, in which he was defeated again. It was hoped to give him one final chance in the Champion Stakes before retirement
"On Saturday he worked under Ted Durcan on the Al Bahathri gallops and he really was coming along well," Crisford said in the Racing Post. "Obviously we were all hoping that we could get him to the racecourse one more time but it was never set in stone. We said all along that we weren't going to run him in the Champion Stakes if he wasn't 100 per cent ready to do himself justice. I imagine he will stay with us at Moulton Paddocks for another few days before he makes his way up to Shadwell Stud."
Sakhee also captured the group II Dante Stakes and group III Thresher Classic trial, and was second in the English Derby, beaten a length by Sinndar.
"We are obviously delighted to be having Sakhee at Shadwell," Stud director Richard Lancaster said. "He will join our other new stallion Act One and they together with Green Desert will make up a formidable stallion team for 2003.
"It is especially good for Shadwell to be getting a stallion like Sakhee following the losses of Nashwan and Unfuwain.
"Sakhee's racing career has been absolutely outstanding and nobody will forget the manner in which he absolutely decimated two high-class fields last year in the Juddmonte International and in the Arc. He has all the credentials for making an outstanding stallion."