THE New Year wishes of racing fans that Frankel can keep on winning throughout the year could well come true with trainer Sir Henry Cecil declaring he will be "very disappointed" if the unbeaten colt is not even better as a four-year-old.
Frankel added five wins in his three-year-old campaign to the four as a juvenile and last season's runaway 2,000 Guineas hero can be backed at 9-4 with Blue Square to remain unbeaten throughout 2012.
Cecil has said that he expects Frankel to start in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May before stepping up beyond a mile for the first time in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July.
"Frankel gave people a lot of pleasure," said Cecil. "He is doing really well. Touch wood as long as he stays right he could be very exciting.
"He has grown up a lot and he is getting much stronger. He is easy, he is relaxed more and I would be very disappointed if he isn't a better horse."
Cecil also has Frankel's brother Noble Mission to look forward to this year and punters could be attracted to take the 50-1 available with Coral about the once-raced colt for the Investec Derby with Cecil sounding keen on him.
Noble Mission made a highly-promising debut to finish second on his only start to date at Yarmouth in late October and Cecil told At The Races: "He is very well. He had sore shins in August/September so he was off for about a month. It was very heavy that day and he needed the race.
"He is a horse to look forward to and he will definitely get a mile and a quarter maybe a mile and a half."
If Black Caviar is as good as she looks she could steal Frankel's thunder
It is the moment some have been waiting five months for; on Saturday the British Flat Turf season begins at Doncaster with, as tradition dictates, the William Hill Lincoln.
By Marcus Armytage telegraph.co.uk
No matter how much razzmatazz is thrown at the Flat’s first day of term, it remains something of a false dawn. For most, the season does not start in earnest until Newmarket’s Craven meeting some 18 days later. But the Flat season, however low key, has to start sometime around now.
By anyone standards 2011 was a special vintage from the horses that lit it up to the closely-fought jockeys title between Paul Hanagan and Silvestre de Sousa. Once again it looks like Sir Henry Cecil’s Frankel will be racing’s top box office attraction of the summer. He comes into his third season unbeaten in nine starts with memories of his 2,000 Guineas romp still my highlight of last year.
It will be interesting to see if he is even better when stepped up to a mile and a quarter. If Frankel does step up Richard Hannon’s Strong Suit can fill the gap he leaves and dominate the older milers.
Black Caviar, the Australian sprint sensation who boasts a record of 19 wins from 19 starts, will also add a great international angle particularly at Royal Ascot, where she is due to make her British debut. If she is as good as she looks, then Frankel won’t have a monopoly on the headlines.
We don’t often get a chance to see the Melbourne Cup winner in action in the northern hemisphere, but Dunaden’s stratospheric rise through the ranks, from a horse who was bought [and failed] to win a handicap at Longchamp on Arc day 2010, can continue. After his December win in Hong Kong on the way home, the Arc has become the ambitious target for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s six year-old. He will reappear in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in May.
The only group which left something to be desired last year were the two year-olds. Camelot looked head and shoulders above the rest when winning the Racing Post Trophy and he can give Joseph O’Brien a first British Classic triumph, as soon as May, and possibly a first Derby. It may be, however, that the best of last year’s juveniles have yet to reveal themselves in anything more than a back-end maiden.
With Hanagan joining Sheikh Hamdan and De Sousa going to Godolphin, it would appear to have thrown open the jockeys’ title. Ryan Moore will need Sir Michael Stoute to fire this season if he is to regain it while Kieren Fallon should not be dismissed lightly. He was only 23 adrift of Hanagan last year without one single yard supplying him with a serious number of winners. Richard Hughes will know by Wednesday, when the BHA will hear his case, whether he has to sit out the first month of the season due to a suspension picked up in India during the winter.
There are sure to be other human stars of the show. The name Eddery has been synonymous with Flat racing for decades. Robert Eddery is, perhaps, not the one you might have had in mind but the second-season Newmarket trainer is one to watch. Having started with just seven horses Eddery, 51, has doubled his string and kept his two back-end juvenile winners from last year, Heyward Girl and Red Quartet, and has high hopes for Brighton maiden winner Vasily.
At the start of a long and winding road, Eddery will face many challenges. Apart from the normal financial trials, racing will also have to meet two extraordinary challenges this summer; a severe drought in the south and the Olympics. It is guaranteed to overcome both.
If Black Caviar is as good as she looks she could steal Frankel's thunder It is the moment some have been waiting five months for; on Saturday the British Flat Turf season begins at Doncaster with, as tradition dictates, the William Hill Lincoln.By M
Frankel's full-brother Noble Mission could make his seasonal reappearance at the Newmarket Craven meeting.
Sir Henry Cecil has been restrained in campaigning the Investec Derby entry, who carries with him the burden of expectation associated with his bloodlines, and only ran him once at Yarmouth in late October. Noble Mission showed plenty of promise in staying on to finish second to Swedish Sailor over a mile and his trainer is keen to get more experience into him before laying out any flashy plans.
"I'm happy with him, he's progressing nicely and there's a chance I might bring him out at Newmarket," Cecil said.
"He's still a maiden and this would be a stepping stone before a conditions race and then maybe a trial. I'd want him to have two races in at least before I thought of anything else."
Cecil is understandably reluctant to compare Noble Mission with Frankel, adding: "It's difficult. It's the early stages in his life and time will tell with him. He has done well and improved from two to three. He had sore shins last year and I expect him to be a lot better than he was last year."
Cecil has many other lightly-raced three-year-olds entered in the Derby and the Oaks, such as Thomas Chippendale, Wrotham Heath, Fragonard and Epoque, but is still in the processing stage at present.
He continued: "I hope a lot of the two-year-olds will be a lot better as three-year-olds as they were very backward. Quite a few of the fillies ran second or third. We'll see how they are and work out when to run them, but there is a group that I like."
Newmarket's knight begins the season with a solid set of older horses, Frankel apart, which still includes Prince Khalid Abdulla's four-time Group One winner Twice Over, who is now seven.
He said: "He has been a real old friend of mine. There were offers for him last year, not big ones, but the Prince said he stayed in training. He's in very good form. I didn't want to go back to Dubai and he will maybe go for the Earl of Sefton (also at the Newmarket Craven meeting)."
One-time Derby fancy World Domination, not seen since disappointing at Royal Ascot, is also still at Warren Place, and Cecil said: "He had a setback, which stopped him, but if he stayed right he could be exciting. He might come back in something like the Gordon Richards at Sandown, but that's a long time away."
http://betfred.chromaagency.comFrankel's full-brother Noble Mission could make his seasonal reappearance at the Newmarket Craven meeting.Sir Henry Cecil has been restrained in campaigning the Investec Derby entry, who carries with him the burden of e
Sir Henry Cecil's superstar Frankel heads 20 entries for the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19.
The great miler, who went through last year unbeaten in five races, four of them at Group One level, has had this race as his first target ever since the end of last season. Cecil has also entered Bullet Train and Jet Away.
Excelebration, who was behind Frankel on several occasions last term, could have his first start since joining the Aidan O'Brien team.
The Ballydoyle handler has also entered his vanquished Dubai World Cup favourite So You Think and Windsor Palace.
Richard Hannon has won the last two renewals of the Lockinge with Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs and is well represented by Dubawi Gold, Strong Suit and Libranno.
Cityscape, so impressive in winning the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night, is another possible, though he is in the same ownership as Frankel, while Roger Varian could run Nahrain, who narrowly lost her unbeaten record in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Godolphin's Saamidd could make his reappearance while Worthadd, who was second in the race when trained in Italy last year, could make his first start for Sir Mark Prescott.
Frankel heads Lockinge entrieshttp://betfred.chromaagency.comSir Henry Cecil's superstar Frankel heads 20 entries for the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19.The great miler, who went through last year unbeaten in five races, four of them at Gro
Frankel, last year's champion racehorse, has been given the all-clear to resume his training programme following a scan on his injured leg.
The four-year-old hurt his off-fore when working in Newmarket last Wednesday and while it was initially reported to be a minor problem, it later transpired the injury could be more serious.
However, those fears have now been allayed with owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe issuing an upbeat bulletin following a further examination today.
In a statement to Press Association Sport, Grimthorpe said: "Frankel has been given the all clear, following his scan this afternoon. There was no evidence of any damage to his tendon and he will now resume a normal training regime."
Frankel, who is trained by Sir Henry Cecil, has won each of his nine starts to date including last year's 2000 Guineas. He also landed the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood before rounding off his year with a thrilling performance in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Cecil had earmarked the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19 as Frankel's starting point for this term, although it was feared last week that the race was off the agenda.
However, with the Galileo colt now back on track, Grimthorpe believes the Lockinge could be a possibility, although connections are in no rush to map a definite plan.
He added: "There is no set agenda for his future racing programme, which will be determined by the progress he makes. At this stage the Lockinge Stakes has not yet been ruled out.
BHAFrankel handed all-clear after scanFrankel, last year's champion racehorse, has been given the all-clear to resume his training programme following a scan on his injured leg.The four-year-old hurt his off-fore when working in Newmarket last Wednes
FRANKEL will resume cantering this weekend and could still make the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury next month, trainer Sir Henry Cecil said on Wednesday.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, had earlier confirmed the superstar colt had passed a leg scan on Wednesday following last week's injury scare.
And Cecil, speaking from Newmarket, issued a positive bulletin about the unbeaten four-year-old's fitness.
Cecil said: "He was scanned this morning - very thoroughly - and everything with his sheath and his tendon is fine.
"I've had him walking and trotting and everything seems to have settled down. We'll resume work and feel our way.
"I'd like to make Newbury if possible because it's a long time with a horse like that to hang around until Ascot. I'll feel my way but I'm hopeful. If I have to take him somewhere, I'll take him."
Speaking on Racing UK, Cecil added: "He's been going out each morning and each night and he will probably resume cantering this weekend."
Frankel to resume work at the weekend - Cecil By James Pugh racingpost.com 6:12PM 18 APR 2012 FRANKEL will resume cantering this weekend and could still make the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury next month, trainer Sir Henry Cecil said on Wednesday.Ted
Noble Mission, full-brother to the mighty Frankel, produced a taking performance of his own in division one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes at Newbury.
Second on his sole start as a juvenile and sporting a hood, the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Galileo colt (3-1 favourite) was settled just off the pace through the early stages by Tom Queally.
He only had to be nudged along to pick up the strong-travelling Captain Cat, before lengthening well and holding Dream Tune by three and three-quarter lengths.
William Hill gave Noble Mission a 25-1 from 33s quote for the Investec Derby.
Cecil said: "For a mile and a quarter horse that was a good performance. I wanted to start him over a mile on this ground, and he's won very nicely. I don't want to say anything silly, so I will just feel my way at the moment."
Of the hood, Cecil explained: "I've had them handmade in the Czech Republic. They have got foam rubber in the ears and I used them on three fillies last year that were a bit scatty.
"He won't have to wear it all the time because he is getting more relaxed."
All well with Frankel
Frankel remains on course to make his eagerly awaited four-year-old bow in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury next month.
Having been given the all-clear to resume training following an injury scare, trainer Sir Henry Cecil reports his superstar colt to be progressing well.
Speaking at Newbury after saddling Frankel's full-brother Noble Mission to victory, Cecil said: "He's fine, he did two canters yesterday and two canters this morning. Hopefully I will get him ready for the Lockinge (on May 19)."
He added: "He is usually better for his first run and I don't want him to go straight into the big races in the summer."
BHANoble Mission, full-brother to the mighty Frankel, produced a taking performance of his own in division one of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes at Newbury.Second on his sole start as a juvenile and sporting a hood, the Sir He
Frankel back galloping this morning irishracing.com
Sir Henry Cecil's incredible colt Frankel stepped up his recovery from injury with a piece of work in Newmarket on Wednesday morning.
The Khalid Abdullah-owned son of Galileo stretched his unbeaten record to nine during a stellar 2011 campaign, with a breathtaking performance in the 2000 Guineas one of the highlights of his career so far.
There were anxious moments earlier this month when the four-year-old suffered a setback during routine exercise, but a scan on his leg last week confirmed the world's highest-rated Flat horse had suffered no serious damage and he was given the green light to get back to work.
Frankel back galloping this morningirishracing.comSir Henry Cecil's incredible colt Frankel stepped up his recovery from injury with a piece of work in Newmarket on Wednesday morning.The Khalid Abdullah-owned son of Galileo stretched his unbeaten rec
Frankel will continue his preparation towards the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury with a gallop before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.
Sir Henry Cecil's superstar, the highest-rated racehorse in the world, will be making his first racecourse appearance since an injury scare last month.
Initial reports suggested he would be galloping before racing on Sunday, but he will now exercise 24 hours earlier.
He is scheduled to arrive at 12.30pm and is expected to work with Bullet Train and Jet Away at approximately 12.55pm
Frankel will continue his preparation towards the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury with a gallop before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.Sir Henry Cecil's superstar, the highest-rated racehorse in the world, will be making his first racecourse appearanc
An appearance in the Investec Derby is still possible for Frankel's brother Noble Mission if he were to win the Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes tomorrow.
Sir Henry Cecil has always been at pains to point out the two are completely different characters and while Noble Mission does not possess Frankel's speed, he is likely to stay further in time, hence the Derby entry.
Having been beaten on his debut at Yarmouth by Godolphin's Swedish Sailor, who was supposed to renew rivalry but is now a non-runner, Noble Mission opened his account at Newbury two weeks ago.
"If Noble Mission runs well in the Newmarket Stakes, the Investec Derby is a race we will consider. The Derby is in everyone's plans until they are proven otherwise," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah.
"He has been fine since Newbury. He is in really good nick and has come out of the race really well. We were hoping he would win like he did as he has always been very talented.
"Everyone wants to compare him to his brother, which is a bit unfortunate, but he doesn't know that and is quite happy. I would think the step up to 10 furlongs at Newmarket will be in his favour as he settles well and goes quite nicely.
"I think he is a different horse to Frankel in regards to the type of horse he is and the trip he wants. He is by Galileo and if you go far enough back in the family, it does suggest he could stay a mile and a half, but we will we have to see. It should be a good test of where we are with him."
He will now face just five rivals headed by Godolphin's impressive Wood Ditton winner Mariner's Cross.
The highly-regarded Stencive from the William Haggas yard takes his chance, along with Richard Hannon's Mister Music, Gerard Butler's Prince Alzain and the unraced Michelangelo from John Gosden's stable.
http://betfred.chromaagency.comAn appearance in the Investec Derby is still possible for Frankel's brother Noble Mission if he were to win the Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes tomorrow.Sir Henry Cecil has always been at pains to point out the two are co
racingpost.com Frankel looking good Working with Jet Away and Bullet Train on the Rowley Mile, he was keen to get on with things and moved effortlessly away from his work companions under Tom Queally. It would appear that he's on target for the Lockinge on May 19.
racingpost.comFrankel looking goodWorking with Jet Away and Bullet Train on the Rowley Mile, he was keen to get on with things and moved effortlessly away from his work companions under Tom Queally. It would appear that he's on target for the Locking
FRANKEL will return in the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in two weeks' time after pleasing trainer Sir Henry Cecil in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket on Saturday.
Owned by Khalid Abdullah, Frankel returned to the scene of his most famous and most devastating victory in last year's Qipco 2,000 Guineas to work over 7½f with stablemates Bullet Train and Jet Away. Having lookedmore settled than last year on his way to the start, Frankel was keen enough in the early stages before stretching away instantaneously when allowed by jockey Tom Queally inside the final two furlongs.
Cecil said: "Frankel enjoyed himself and he stretched out nicely when he went on in the last two furlongs.
"The plan is to go to Newbury with him and I was very pleased with that. We will give him a couple more pieces of work before then."
Unbeaten in nine starts, Frankel's return had been in jeopardy a few weeks ago when he sustained a leg injury during another gallop. However, he was cleared after a scan and has shown no ill effects since.
Queally added on Racing UK: "He is moving 100 per cent and that was exactly what we were looking for.
Frankel set for Lockinge after racecourse gallop BY DAVID MILNES racingpost.com FRANKEL will return in the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in two weeks' time after pleasing trainer Sir Henry Cecil in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket on Saturda
Pat Power: Being reported that Cirrus Des Aigles definitely goes for the Singapore Cup on the 20th,the day after Frankel runs in the Lockinge.
Lockinge Betting 4-9 Frankel 7-2 Excelebration 6 So You Think 8 Strong Suit
Pat Power: Being reported that Cirrus Des Aigles definitely goes for the Singapore Cup on the 20th,the day after Frankel runs in the Lockinge. Lockinge Betting 4-9 Frankel 7-2 Excelebration 6 So You Think 8 Strong Suit
£100m Frankel could test Timeform's ratings on his Newbury comeback
Chris Cook guardian.co.uk
Frankel is already regarded as the best current racehorse in the world and could have been retired to stud, but a big enough win at Newbury on Saturday could lift his all-time ranking significantly
Frankel, the best racehorse in the world and one of the most exciting there has ever been, returns to action on Saturday. When he steps on to the Newbury turf, it will be an extraordinary moment and not just because the spectators will have the unusual experience of looking at an animal who is more valuable than the grandstand, which hardly ever happens away from Bangor or maybe Fakenham.
A horse of Frankel's ability is supposed to be at stud by now, earning a healthy income of, say, £50,000 per mare covered at an annual rate of more than 100 mares each year. Sending him back to the track for another summer is a purely sporting decision by his owner, Khalid Abdullah, because this is a horse whose reputation and value are all but unimprovable.
Bloodstock agents, asked to assess Frankel's worth before his most recent race in October, came up with a figure of £100m. For that to go up, he would probably have to prove his ability as a sire, which cannot happen until his sons and daughters hit the track in four years.
Wonderhorse is frequently bandied about in the spring of every Flat season, usually in relation to some callow three-year-old who is sure to let his supporters down at some point. Frankel gives the term renewed potency because, in his case, its use is not appropriately answered by a cynical smirk. His is the talent in which even the most hard-hearted hack is prepared to believe.
Even so, a cool, clear-eyed assessment is expected from the analysts at Timeform, the respected publishing firm that has been rating racehorses for almost 70 years. "Everybody here, old and young, believe he's the best we've ever seen," says Jamie Lynch, their chief correspondent.
That, however, is not quite the official position. Frankel has only the fourth-highest rating (143) in the history of Timeform and Lynch would clearly enjoy giving Frankel the biggest number yet, though he insists he is "not just going to do that, willy-nilly".
"The problem is, it could be more about his opportunities than his ability and he's going to need some help from his contemporaries if he's to get to that figure. The good news is that there's some top-class horses out there who could allow him to express his true ability.
"There's Excelebration and Cirrus Des Aigles, who are both on 133, and then there's Black Caviar . If Frankel beats any one of those good horses this year by five or six lengths, that will take him into realms that no horse has ever been into in Timeform's history."
Excelebration is among those due to oppose Frankel in next Saturday's Lockinge Stakes, so Lynch's hopes could be fulfilled in a matter of days. And yet he is concerned about whether the horse will be remembered with the right degree of reverence.
"It's a bit disappointing that the campaign that's been mapped out for him is only in Britain, so far. I'd love to see him prove his worth on another stage and he'll maybe be undermined slightly if he doesn't do that. We all believe he could win almost any race at any distance on any surface."
When a horse repeatedly lines up for races in conditions that are known to suit him, rather than being tested in a new way, those close to him usually justify their conservatism by saying they are doing what's best for him. "But," says Lynch, "doing best by the horse is giving him the chance to show himself in the best possible light."
He would like to see Frankel turn up for the Breeders' Cup Classic in America in November, or the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France in October. Neither is favoured as a target by Lord Grimthorpe, Abdullah's racing manager, who says: "He'll follow the agenda that he shows us he is most capable of doing."
After the Lockinge, that means Frankel will go to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne, or the Prince of Wales if it is decided he is ready to step up from a mile to a mile and a quarter. His most likely races thereafter are the Eclipse at Sandown in July, York's International in August, which Abdullah sponsors, and the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.
The most likely targets abroad would be the Irish Champion Stakes in September or the Prix d'Ispahan in France this month if the ground at Newbury turns out to be bottomless, in which case he would miss the Lockinge. "Whatever you do with a horse, people always want more," Grimthorpe sighs. "They say, why don't you run him over six furlongs or a mile and a half, or why didn't you run him in Bucharest? The main thing is, people [connected with other racehorses] have a good idea where he's going and then, if they want to take him on, that would be fine."
Frankel's trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, reports the horse sailed through his last serious pre-Lockinge gallop on Saturday and should be ready for next Saturday's race, despite having missed around 10 days with an injury scare last month. So far as can be established, he has made a complete recovery from the knock he gave one of his legs, which briefly prompted rumours of his retirement.
"All the indications are that it shouldn't be a problem," Grimthorpe says, adding that Frankel appears to have matured in his attitude. "I think you're going to see a slightly more controlled but nevertheless explosive racehorse."Grimthorpe admits to having been "a bit nervous" as he waited for news of the scan that would determine the extent of Frankel's recent injury. That took several days because the horse could not be assessed until inflammation around the site of his knock had reduced.
"When I first said 'haemhorraging', people looked at me like there was blood gushing from his leg," Grimthorpe recalls, "but it was a tiny, tiny little bit that just gives that inflammation. When the vets were happy with it, he went straight to be scanned and thankfully the result was a good one."
He pours cold water on the chance of a meeting between Frankel and Black Caviar, the Australian sensation who achieved her 21st consecutive victory yesterday and is due to visit England this summer. "Funnily enough, I saw Peter Moody [trainer of Black Caviar] in Hong Kong the other day and we joked about it.
"I think both camps understand the big desire to see the two great champions clash but, in reality, Black Caviar's programme looks like it's going to revolve around five to seven furlongs, whereas our programme at the moment is between eight and 10. You can't be all things to all people."
£100m Frankel could test Timeform's ratings on his Newbury comebackChris Cookguardian.co.ukFrankel is already regarded as the best current racehorse in the world and could have been retired to stud, but a big enough win at Newbury on Saturday could
Frankel tops nine six-day acceptors for the Group 1, JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday and is likely to be joined in the field by stablemate Bullet Train.
He will act as pacemaker for Sir Henry Cecil's brilliant and unbeaten colt who confirmed his wellbeing with a good piece of work at Newmarket on Saturday.
Aidan O'Brien looks sure to field the biggest threat to the favourite with Excelebration and So You Think (very unlikely to take part) still in the race, along with another potential pacemaker in Windsor Palace.
Strong Suit and Dubawi Gold could both represent Richard Hannon and the Charlie Hills pair of Ransom Note and Red Jazz complete the field.
O'Brien said of Excelebration: "He's fine. He's a very relaxed horse and good enough to compete. Marco Botti did a great job with him, but he's a year older and has strengthened up.
"It will be interesting taking on Frankel and if you know his achilles heel, I wish you'd let me know!"
O'Brien has also left in multiple Group One winner So You Think, but has confirmed he is highly unlikely to take part.
"We gave him a bit of a break after Dubai and we'll wait a bit longer with him. He'll probably run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh (May 27)," said the trainer
The Ballydoyle team have a third entry in likely pacemaker Windsor Palace.
O'Brien duo set to take on FrankelIRISHRACING.COMFrankel tops nine six-day acceptors for the Group 1, JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday and is likely to be joined in the field by stablemate Bullet Train.He will act as pacemaker for Sir Henry
Frankel will face six rivals when he makes his highly-anticipated seasonal debut in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Sir Henry Cecil's brilliant colt has overcome a slight leg injury a few weeks ago to take his place in the Group One over the straight mile.
Frankel, owned by Khalid Abdullah, has shown his well-being recently and delighted connections in workouts at Newmarket. The four-year-old has already won five races at the highest level, and a total of nine in all. He will be joined to post by his close relative and regular work companion Bullet Train.
Richard Hannon, who has won the last two runnings of this race with Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs, has declared Strong Suit and Dubawi Gold. However, the Marlborough trainer warned Strong Suit will not run unless the ground is suitable.
"If there's any soft in the ground he probably may not run," said Hannon.
"Dubawi Gold definitely runs."
Excelebration was put in his place by Frankel three times last season when trained by Marco Botti. Now with Aidan O'Brien, the Prix du Moulin winner tries again on the back of a pleasing victory on his first run for the Irish trainer in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh last month.
O'Brien also has a second string to his bow in Windsor Palace, who floored stablemate St Nicholas Abbey in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month.
Ransom Note, trained by Charlie Hills, completes the seven-strong line-up.
So You Think and Red Jazz were the only withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage
attheraces.comFrankel will face six rivals when he makes his highly-anticipated seasonal debut in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.Sir Henry Cecil's brilliant colt has overcome a slight leg injury a few weeks ago to take his place in th
Khalid Abdulla’s colt, now four, is unbeaten in nine starts and was last seen winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in emphatic fashion.
He encountered a slight set-back in early April but apart from that he has wintered well and Sir Henry has been pleased with his progress.
He said: “Considering Frankel had a ten-day setback I am pleased with the progress he has made in preparation for the Lockinge at Newbury on Saturday.
“Some of the opposition have had a race which is a great advantage, but I feel he has done enough to give a good account of himself.
“One thing I am pretty sure about is that he will come on for the race and will be a stronger and more settled horse this year.”
Only five rivals take Frankel on. They include Group 1 winner Excelebration and the very useful Strong Suit.
Also on Saturday, Frankel’s brother Noble Mission bids for a hat-trick of wins when lining up in the Fairway Stakes at Newmarket under Eddie Ahern.
http://www.sirhenrycecil.comKhalid Abdulla’s colt, now four, is unbeaten in nine starts and was last seen winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in emphatic fashion. He encountered a slight set-back in early April but apart from that he has
Joseph O'Brien has expressed his excitement as he prepared to take the ride aboard Excelebration in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
The four-year-old finished behind Frankel on three occasions last term, winning his other three starts for Italian trainer Marco Botti, and renews rivalry with his old foe at the Berkshire track.
The Exceed And Excel colt joined Aidan O'Brien over the winter and made an impressive start for new connections by landing the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh under the trainer's son, Joseph, who retains the ride at Newbury.
"It will be the first time I've ridden against Frankel and he is obviously a great horse, so I'm looking forward to it," said the jockey.
"Excelebration won very well in the Curragh and you'd like to think he'll improve for that as it was his first run of the year. He's obviously stepping up from a Group Three to a Group One race against Frankel, so he'll have to improve.
"We just go into the race knowing our horse is in good form and we'll just do our best and see what happens. He's versatile ground-wise and hopefully he'll run a big race."
Richard Hannon is keeping a careful eye on the weather as his prime contender, Strong Suit, needs quicker conditions to excel. The four-year-old was largely campaigned over seven furlongs in 2011 but proved his aptitude for a mile when third in the Prix Jean Prat.
"He loves top of the ground. We've declared him with that proviso. He's fine," said the trainer.
"At his best he'd want the ground to be good, fast ground. If there's any soft in it he wont run. We're happy with him and to start him off at Newbury if the ground is OK.
"If he doesn't run on Saturday he'll probably wait for the Queen Anne at Ascot
Jockey Tom Queally has expressed his excitement ahead of Frankel's eagerly awaited return to action in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Queally has been aboard Frankel for each of his nine victories and was delighted with the colt's recent racecourse gallop at Newmarket.
He said: "It was just good to get him out on a racecourse and get him to see something different. It's not that he's difficult to ride, he's just a bit keen and he's got such a big stride, you are a passenger on him."
He went on: "If you look at him now he's so strong - he's a bull now this year.
"You can't break his big stride and that's why he's in control.
"I'm looking forward to it and it looks like he could open his account again and keep the ball rolling."
The ground at Newbury is still riding on the soft side, and with more showers forecast, it could ease further.
That would not worry Queally, though, who said: "He won his debut in very testing conditions and he's strong enough to get through it
Connections of Frankel believe the superstar colt will have to bring his "A-game" to the table if he is to land the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
The four-year-old carried all before him for trainer Sir Henry Cecil last season, ending the term undefeated in five starts, which included victories in the 2000 Guineas, the Sussex Stakes and the QEII Stakes.
He is a short-priced favourite to make a victorious return in the Group One event at the Berkshire venue. Although most consider the result a foregone conclusion, owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, feels the Galileo colt must be at his best to triumph.
"There is no such thing as a gimme in this sport, so hopefully he'll bring his A-game to the table. You either bring your best or you don't bother at all." Grimthorpe said.
"What we want to see is a good, solid performance and this is obviously the first stepping-stone on what we hope will be a very good year. His style is his own and we are all very conscious that we have something pretty extraordinary on our hands."
At one stage in April, it looked as though Frankel may never race again after rumours abounded about the severity of a leg injury he sustained on the Newmarket gallops.
But after thorough investigation, it transpired the problem was only minor and Frankel has barely looked back since.Cecil took the chance to prove his well-being with a racecourse workout at Newmarket on 2000 Guineas day.
"The scans we did on his leg were pretty unequivocal and all his work since has been absolutely first class," added Grimthorpe.
"He worked fantastically well when he went to Racecourse Side the other day and hopefully he can prove himself what we know him to be on Saturday."
Grimthorpe told Racing UK: "I think at this stage, if all went well, Henry is leaning towards the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot for his next start and obviously the hope later in the season is that he'll be here (at York) for the Juddmonte International."
http://betfred.chromaagency.com Joseph O'Brien has expressed his excitement as he prepared to take the ride aboard Excelebration in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.The four-year-old finished behind Frankel on three occasions last term,
"His first race is never his best, he always improves for it," said trainer Sir Henry Cecil.
Coolmore Stud: http://www.coolmore.com
Frankel is out of this world (19th May 2012)
The world’s best racehorse, Frankel (4c Galileo-Kind, by Danehill), confirmed himself one of the sport’s all-time greats in front of a packed and appreciative crowd at Newbury on Saturday afternoon.
The unbeaten Galileo colt, who topped last year’s World Thoroughbred Ratings, showed no ill-effects from a slight setback in the spring as he turned the G1 Lockinge Stakes into a procession.
Frankel’s three-parts brother Bullet Train (5h Sadler’s Wells-Kind, by Danehill) tried to set an adequate pace for his illustrious sibling but the race was put to bed two furlongs out when Tom Queally, aboard the winner, kicked on.
Frankel, a Juddmonte Farms home-bred, eventually finished five lengths clear of the high-class Excelebration in the mile contest but was not pushed to do so.
"His first race is never his best, he always improves for it," said trainer Sir Henry Cecil. "This is lovely for racing and thank goodness that he has come through the setback OK. Every sport, they need a champion. It gets everyone involved and it's good for racing. I'm delighted for the Prince (Khalid Abdullah) and the staff. It was nice."
Speaking to PA Sport, Cecil added that the G1 Queen Anne Stakes over a mile and the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot were the two races being considered for Frankel’s next start.
"He has definitely got stronger this year and you have to be thrilled with him as when you have a hiccup in the lead-up to the race then it is not very funny and it has not been straightforward.
"I’m very lucky to have the horse and he has had a good blow afterwards. He’s in the two at Ascot and we'll take it step by step."
Many seasoned racegoers believe Frankel is the best horse they have ever seen and it is not a view with which Queally would disagree.
"It's a great relief he's come back. It's great to be on board. He's grown up from last year, he's thicker set," said Queally. "If you look at him now, he's the real deal - he's filled out since last year. He showed that burst of acceleration. He's not like anything I've sat on before.
"His first race is never his best, he always improves for it," said trainer Sir Henry Cecil.Coolmore Stud: http://www.coolmore.comFrankel is out of this world (19th May 2012)The world’s best racehorse, Frankel (4c Galileo-Kind, by Danehill), confir
As he crossed the line just after 3.40pm at Newbury on Saturday afternoon, an effortless five lengths clear of Excelerbration – the second highest rated horse over a mile in the world – a spontaneous sense of joy broke out around the famous old Berkshire racecourse. The prospect of seeing the undefeated Frankel begin his four-year-old campaign had swollen the crowd to double its normal levels for the mid-May Lockinge meeting, and those who had braved the unseasonably chilly weather were not disappointed. He was back, and looking better than ever.
Almost exactly a year ago, the horse had taken his first steps on the racecourse as a three-year-old, with a similar result. Excelebration had been defeated by four lengths on that day as Frankel warmed up for what would be an unforgettable victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. On Saturday he confirmed his superiority over his old rival for a fourth time in total but what we saw was a stronger, more mature and more powerful horse than we saw last year, when he won four group one races and had even the most seasoned observers of a notoriously fickle sport reaching for the superlatives.
Yet for those with any hint of an emotional attachment to the sport of racing – an attachment that elevates great racehorses to a higher plane than mere numbers on a betting slip – there was more of a sense of relief than wonder. By overcoming a training injury that set back his preparation for Saturday’s comeback by 10 days, Frankel confirmed that he has not only improved but appears capable of prolonging an unlikely sporting fairytale to the happiest of conclusions.
Reappearances after winter breaks usually find horses at their most vulnerable. Excelebration, reportedly thriving after a transfer to the world’s most powerful stable, that of the Irishman Aidan O’Brien, had already proved his wellbeing ahead of Saturday with a bloodless success on his reappearance at the Curragh the previous month. Until we saw him in action, regardless of an impressive racecourse gallop on 2,000 Guineas day, we had to take Frankel’s wellbeing on trust. If he was ever going to be beaten, we told ourselves, Saturday just might be the day. How wrong we were.
Timeform have already rated Frankel as the best racehorse ever to appear in Europe over a mile and the prospect of him proving his versatility by stepping up in distance to ten furlongs brings with it the very live possibility that by the end of the season he will be rated the best horse that has been seen on this continent since Timeform’s ratings began in 1948. As it stands today, only Sea Bird and Brigadier Gerrard are rated superior.
The seeds of a fairytale
So far the horse has taken everything asked of him in his stride, including the burden, of which he is thankfully unaware, of being the central figure in one of the most extraordinary comeback stories in the history of modern sport. Now and again sport has a capacity for romance that lifts it beyond bar room debate to something more celestial. And in almost three decades following it I haven’t found anything to come close to the story of this horse and the men synonymous with him.
To find its origins we must go back around ten years to the early 2000s. Back then two men, born on different continents 18 months apart, bestrode the sport of kings on each side of the Atlantic. Henry Cecil and Bobby Frankel were at the top of the training ranks in Britain and America respectively. The languid, upper class and seemingly aloof Cecil – privately educated and stepson of the Queen’s trainer – had sent out more Classic winners and more Royal Ascot winners than any Briton in history, and had been crowned champion trainer ten times. Frankel, a streetwise, self-made man from the tough neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, was about to have the most successful season that any trainer in the world had ever enjoyed by saddling 25 group/grade one winners in 2003 – a record that still stands.
In terms of their backgrounds the two men couldn’t have been more different, but they were bound together by common ground: unsurpassed genius in the handling of thoroughbred racehorses; and the patronage of one of the world’s most powerful owners – Prince Khalid Abdulla, the founder of Juddmonte Farms. While Abdulla sent horses to other trainers in Europe and the USA, there was no doubt that Cecil and Frankel were number one. All of this was about to be threatened.
Decline and death
At around the time that Bobby Frankel was breaking records in the USA, Cecil’s private and professional life began to unravel. The very public breakdown of his second marriage, which scandalised British racing, was beginning to take its toll. The winners began to dry up as he descended into borderline alcoholism, punctuated by a conviction for drink driving after he injured two elderly pedestrians. His twin brother David lost a battle against cancer and, as Cecil was diagnosed with the disease himself, the winners dried up – and so did the patronage of some of his once-loyal owners and breeders.
Cecil’s nadir came in 2005. A man used to sending out up to 200 winners per season registered just 12. On Derby day, while the great and good of European racing were saddling their bluebloods at Epsom Downs, Cecil was preparing a runner to race at Catterick, one of the relative backwaters of British racing. As far as ignominy goes, it was the equivalent of Laurence Olivier appearing second on the bill at a pantomime in Blackpool on Oscar night.
Throughout all of this Abdulla remained loyal to his trainer and by 2007 Cecil’s name began featuring more frequently again in the racing press and in betting shops up and down the country when plenty of observers had already concluded that it had disappeared for good. Two Abdulla-owned horses, – Twice Over and Midday – played central roles in Cecil’s rise. But over in America, tragedy was about to strike.
Bobby Frankel died in November 2009 at the age of 68 after an ill-fated but spirited fight with leukaemia. Racing in America was plunged into mourning and the news particularly saddened Abdulla. More than anyone the Brooklyn boy had enabled the Saudi prince to make a success of his breeding operation in America. The likes of Empire Maker, Sightseek and Beat Hollow (sent to Frankel from Cecil’s stable as the Englishman’s career nosedived) provided Abdulla and his trainer with some of the most memorable moments of their careers. As he sat at Frankel’s funeral that autumn, Abdulla formulated a plan for a lasting tribute to his stricken trainer.
A safe bet would have been a statue. In the end Abdulla decided on a far riskier, but potentially much more poignant and far reaching-honour. He decided to name his most promising yearling of 2009 after the American in the hope that the Frankel name could be further immortalised on the racetrack and then in the breeding stables. Even the most optimistic of those closest to him didn’t expect the strategy to work.
The breeding of racehorses and their graduation to the track is a notoriously tricky process. Those with the most regal of pedigrees often disappoint, as the ultra-knowledgeable connections of Snaafi Dancer and The Green Monkey will attest to. The former cost Sheikh Mohammed $10.2 million at auction in 1983 and never saw a racecourse, while the latter cost O’Brien’s backers at Coolmore Stud $16 million in 2006 and never won a race. Abdulla himself breeds and purchases close to 200 yearlings a year. Identifying the one that might one day do Bobby Frankel’s memory justice appeared to be as difficult as choosing some lottery numbers.
Tribute and redemption
In the end Abdulla and his advisors settled on a striking son of Galileo, the world’s most successful sire, and one of his former race mares, Kind. It was a pedigree that blended speed and stamina, but more than a fair share of luck would be needed for it to win a race at the highest level. For it to prove to be a lasting tribute to his namesake would require a miracle. As for it becoming the world’s top rated horse, and potentially the greatest ever to grace a racecourse – talk of that would only result in a visit from the men in white coats.
Cecil had displayed a toughness and resilience in his own fight with cancer and his dwindling fortunes that belied his demeanour. Unlikely as it may have seemed to those that had followed his career and his life, he had shown Bobby Frankel qualities that his late friend across the Atlantic would have respected. Whether it was this, or simply Abdulla’s unwavering faith that Cecil’s genius as a trainer had not deserted him, that led the owner to send the young horse to Cecil’s Newmarket base, is an answer that only Abdulla and those closest to him know.
It was a decision that has not just paid dividends in terms of unprecedented performances on the track. It has created a sporting story that, having already exceeded our wildest dreams, will reach its conclusion over the coming months. So far, the horse and his trainer have followed the script to the letter. Frankel is undoubtedly an equine one-off, but he has not been without flaws. His headstrong nature once provided a threat to his extraordinary talent, but he has been both instinctively and fastidiously handled by Cecil, who has a 24-hour CCTV feed from Frankel’s box to his bedroom.
In a sport where disappointment far outweighs success, where you lose a lot more than you win, Frankel looks to be unbeatable, and, if his trainer is to be believed, is still improving. Cecil appears to be in remission from the disease that killed both his brother and the horse’s namesake, and his career has been rejuvenated.
Along with the legacy-sealing kudos of training what is looking with every passing appearance as the greatest racehorse the world has seen, ultimate redemption for the quintessentially English Cecil came late last year with a knighthood from The Queen. Without the unlikely renaissance that has been completed by this horse, it is doubtful he would have ever made it to Buckingham Palace to accept recognition that his career as a whole deserves. Despite all the earlier success, his story would probably have been footnoted with his spectacular fall from grace.
The knighthood was an honour that Bobby Frankel, a New Yorker with little time for old world traditions, airs or graces, would have probably eschewed. But you can’t help thinking that his spirit, somewhere, helped to make it happen. How else do you explain the unexplainable?
Frankel fairytale is a scriptwriter’s dreamhttp://bit.ly/Kh7UxkAs he crossed the line just after 3.40pm at Newbury on Saturday afternoon, an effortless five lengths clear of Excelerbration – the second highest rated horse over a mile in the world
BHA.COM It’s quite a responsibility assessing a performance that might be the best seen on a racetrack anywhere in the world for 25 years confesses Dominic Gardiner-Hill. The internationalisation of racing has led to all the major racing nations (bar South America for the moment) being represented on the World Rankings Committee, so you have to be pretty damn sure you have seen something very special before making such a bold decision.
After hours of thought and several viewings of Saturday’s JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury I’m as confident as I can be that Frankel fully deserves his new mark of 138 – a rating that places him above such modern greats as Peintre Celebre and Generous (137 in 1991 and 1997 respectively), Sea The Stars (136 in 2009) and a heap of horses on 135, including Harbinger (2010), Montjeu and Daylami (both 1999).
In fact, since 1985, only Dancing Brave’s 141 in the Arc of 1986 betters his figure and it has been openly stated that the level of the World Thoroughbred Rankings (or International Classifications as they were previously known) have dropped a few pounds since those days.
My rationale is clear. Last year Frankel beat Excelebration three times, twice by four lengths (in the Greenham and in the QEII) and yet on Saturday he had extended that superiority to five lengths. In last year’s 2000 Guineas Frankel beat Dubawi Gold by six lengths and in the QEII Richard Hannon’s colt was a respectful 7.75 lengths behind in fourth – on Saturday he was beaten a total of nine lengths into third.
A beating of either of those on their own could have left the Lockinge form open to question, but the fact is that there was 3.75 lengths between Excelebration and Dubawi Gold at Ascot and four lengths between them at Newbury – suggesting they had replicated their form to the pound. Both were race fit and yet Frankel extended his advantage over them – to my mind that suggests this was his best ever performance and that has to be reflected in his rating. Hence 138!
The World Rankings Committee has been criticised in the past for possibly overreacting to "one off" performances. There is no danger of that in the case of Frankel – his career record is now ten from ten, he has posted four 130+ performances to date (with the promise of more to come) and has won his Group 1 races by 6 lengths, .75 lengths, 5 lengths, 4 lengths and now 5 lengths.
The truth is that we don’t really know how good this fellow is (and the same goes for Australian superstar Black Caviar) and it may well be that only the lack of world class opposition will stop him from breaking the 140 barrier – as such I feel we should take advantage of a fully justifiable form line that allows us to give him as much credit as possible.
One last aspect of Saturday’s race that I feel is worth a mention. The plaudits rightly went the way of Messers Cecil and Queally, but spare a thought and applaud the part Ian Mongan played aboard pacemaker Bullet Train. Little went right last season in his efforts to help his illustrious stable companion, but he got it spot on at Newbury and Frankel got the lead he was seeking for much of last season – I believe this was a vital factor in Frankel putting up the performance he did. Conversely, quite what part Coolmore’s pacemaker Windsor Palace was supposed to play in the contest I’m still trying to work out.
THE GRAND OLD DUKE OF YORK Last week’s Group 2 six-furlong Duke of York Stakes on the Knavesmire was billed as the battle of North Yorkshire, with the front two in the market, Hoof It and Mayson, expected to battle out the finish enthuses Stewart Copeland.
However, it was their unconsidered fellow ‘Tyke’ Tiddliwinks, trained by Kevin Ryan, who triumphed for the White Rose County instead. Third in last year’s renewal when running to a mark of 108, he showed himself to be better than ever with a head defeat of The Cheka, with a somewhat unlucky-in-running Society Rock a neck further back in third.
In recent times the average winning rating for the Duke Of York has been around 112, and I had to consider whether Tiddliwinks was at least worthy of such a rating. On balance I feel he is for now, which means I took the view also that The Cheka had put up a marginally best career effort. Unexposed at sprint trips, he seems to have relished the drop back to six furlongs this season, and he’s been credited with a mark of 111.
As for Society Rock, he ran a highly creditable first race of the year, recording a mark of 110. I’m happy to leave him at 117, and he’ll head for his favourite stomping ground of Ascot in an attempt to repeat his Golden Jubilee success at the Royal meeting. However, looking ahead to that race, on this evidence they’ll all be fighting for second place if a peak form Black Caviar turns up. The brilliant mare is currently rated 132, which puts into stark perspective the gulf between her and the pick of the home contingent.
Going back to the two favourites, a line can be put through Mayson’s disappointing run, having got upset at the stalls; he was reported to be never travelling. He remains on 110, and having been such a progressive sort this year, hopefully he’ll put this quickly behind him. Hoof It also remains on his current rating of 118, though he only ran to 101 in finishing fifth. It was a somewhat sluggish start to his season, from some way out he was clearly struggling to go the pace and never looking like landing a blow. He was subsequently reported to be coughing though, and it’s far too soon to be writing him off.
YORKSHIRE CUP A GIFT FOR CADEAUX Red Cadeaux gained reward for many excellent placed efforts when winning the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup states Stephen Hindle. It was his first win for almost a year but he’d run some cracking races in between, notably when touched off in the Melbourne Cup in November.
Ed Dunlop’s six-year-old is tremendously consistent, to the point where I have him running to within a couple of pounds of his rating on his last five starts, but this was arguably his best effort yet.
I toyed with the idea of leaving him on 115, particularly as the second, Glen’s Diamond, raises questions as to how good the form is having entered the race with a rating of 106.
In the end, however, I felt 116 was a more appropriate mark. It ties in with last year’s renewal, as 116 is the mark Duncan ended up on, while it means Red Cadeaux is now rated 1lb higher than the third, Harris Tweed. Glen’s Diamond goes up to 113.
In raising Red Cadeaux to 116 I felt it pertinent to raise Colour Vision, who defeated Red Cadeaux at Kempton earlier in May, to 117. A typical stepping stone from here would be the Gold Cup at Ascot but, unlike Colour Vision, Red Cadeaux is not entered in that contest. His current entries are in mile and a half races, namely the Coronation Cup at Epsom and Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
DON’T WRITE OFF HIGHLY RATED HURDLERS IN HANDICAPS With the Anglo-Irish Classifications now published the time seems right to mention the admirable but these days not quite top class Celestial Halo comments Dave Dickinson. His mark of 161 makes him the joint ninth best two mile hurdler, a typical twilight horse.
Not quite up to competing with the very top horses, his best days behind him and seemingly only in training just to make up the numbers in the Championship races. And handicaps? Well those were totally out of the question surely, he was just going to be too high to be competitive, wasn’t he?
Prior to the 2011/12 season he had won his only handicap over jumps at Wincanton off a mark of 165 but that came just months after his finest hour, failing in a photo in the 2009 Champion Hurdle. Two years on, he began his campaign in that same Wincanton race off a mark of 160 and won it, albeit Grandouet fell and his two remaining rivals ran from out of the handicap. Two from two in handicaps became three from three on New Year’s Eve when he carried top weight to a thrilling success at Newbury. He finishes the season on just a one pound higher mark than for his two successes.
Of the top ten two mile hurdlers in this year’s Classifications, Paul Nicholls trains four. All of his four won handicaps during the season; of the other six only the Donald McCain trained Overturn managed a victory in one. Now remind me again, why is Mr Nicholls Champion Trainer?
BHA.COM It’s quite a responsibility assessing a performance that might be the best seen on a racetrack anywhere in the world for 25 years confesses Dominic Gardiner-Hill. The internationalisation of racing has led to all the major racing nations (b
No Irish Champion bid for Frankel (UKPA) – 5 hours ago Sir Henry Cecil feels the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes does not fit into Frankel's schedule after taking the superstar colt out of the Leopardstown Group One. The four-year-old son of Galileo stretched his unbeaten record to 10 races with a devastating performance in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday. Frankel will not, however, take up an assignment in Ireland on September 8, for which stablemate Twice Over is still one of 50 entries. Cecil told the Guardian: "It's a great race and everything, but it's not in his programme. "If, say, he's going to go for the Sussex Stakes (Goodwood, August 1) and then the Juddmonte (York, August 22), then he can't run in that, too. "We can't enter him in everything."
No Irish Champion bid for Frankel(UKPA) – 5 hours ago Sir Henry Cecil feels the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes does not fit into Frankel's schedule after taking the superstar colt out of the Leopardstown Group One.The four-year-old son of Galileo
The Same Day I'll Have Another Conquered Pimlico, England's Frankel Won No. 10 in a Row .
By PIA CATTON http://online.wsj.com
On Monday, the British Horseracing Authority made a statement. In case you missed it, it said the British horse Frankel, which won Saturday's Lockinge Stakes in Newbury, England, had achieved a numerical performance rating of 138.
Here's all you need to know about that number: It makes Frankel the greatest living racehorse in the world—and the best in at least 25 years.
In fact, if you consider all of the quirks of that rating, which is a subjective figure devised by handicappers, you could argue that 138 makes Frankel one of the best racehorses ever.
There's no denying Frankel's talent. The 4-year-old colt has won 10 races with no defeats. The two words Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia uses to describe him are "unbelievable" and "spectacular."
But also on Saturday, as you might have heard, Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another made a gutsy surge in the stretch to win the Preakness Stakes and set up a run for the Triple Crown on June 9 at Belmont Park. In doing so, the horse received a Beyer speed figure of 109, the highest for a Preakness winner since Curlin earned a 111 in 2007.
This contrast of events points to one of the most frustrating idiosyncrasies of the sport of horse racing: The enormous practical and cultural gulf that exists between America and Europe.
Because of the variety of distances, surfaces and ratings systems in play on the two continents, it's almost impossible to know for sure which horse is really the best in the world. And even if I'll Have Another wins the Triple Crown, it's highly unlikely that he will ever get a shot at challenging Frankel in some sort of heavyweight unification bout.
Frankel is owned by Prince Khalid Abdulla, who also owned Dancing Brave, the last horse to achieve a rating similar to Frankel's. To date, he's raced exclusively on turf, at distances of a mile or less. I'll Have Another, like most top American horses, was trained primarily to run on dirt, the surface of the Triple Crown races—and all of those races are longer than a mile.
Teddy Grimthorpe, the racing manager for Juddmonte Farms, which bred Frankel, said that even if they did ship the horse to the U.S. for the Breeders' Cup weekend in November, the horse would likely be entered in the Breeders' Cup Mile—a turf race—rather than the Classic, which is run on dirt at 1¼ miles, the same surface and distance as the Derby. Grimthorpe said it would be "highly unlikely" that the horse would run in the Classic, "which would be the ultimate race to take him to."
If a meeting between the horses took place, who would win? Battaglia, the oddsmaker, said I'll Have Another is not as proven as Frankel. But if I'll Have Another wins the Triple Crown, he added, "then you could talk about it. It would be something I'd like to see."
Though the British Horseracing Authority ranking system is not as disreputable as, say, the metric system, people familiar with the horse game say Frankel would have a lot to prove if measured against American horses.
"There is almost no correlation between being a great turf miler and a great dirt miler," said Barry Weisbord, president of Thoroughbred Daily News.
Frankel hasn't always turned in staggering times. Although he crushed the field in Saturday's Lockinge Stakes by five lengths, his finish time of 1:38:14 for the mile was slower than the final time for the winner of the same race the previous two years.
Racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe says Frankel hasn't been pushed to race at a distance longer than eight furlongs for an obvious reason. "He was doing so well at the mile and winning, so why would you change that?" Grimthorpe said. "No one measures up to him. I mean no one. At a mile, he is something else."
Battaglia, the handicapper, said he doesn't need any more convincing when it comes to Frankel. "If you haven't lost a race, it doesn't really matter what the margins are."
European horses have dominated the Breeders' Cup Turf in recent years, winning six of the last seven runnings. The French mare Goldikova also won the Breeders' Cup Mile three consecutive times from 2008 to 2010.
But in the Breeders' Cup Classic, run at the 1¼ mile distance on the main track, Europe-based horses have only won twice in 28 years. The British horse Raven's Pass won in 2008, but that race was run on a synthetic track more similar to a grass course than traditional American dirt. The other European Classic winner, Arcangues, is the biggest long shot to ever win a Breeders Cup race at 133-1.
No European horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby. The Irish-based Daddy Long Legs finished last this year. Likewise, no American horse has ever won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is widely considered Europe's most prestigious race.
If you are itching for a showdown between the best horses from each continent, don't abandon hope. Frankel's owners have said they could enter him in an upcoming grass race at Royal Ascot that covers 10 furlongs, the distance of the Derby.
The idea of racing Frankel against America's best has come up. Last year, owner Mike Repole said of his champion colt Uncle Mo: "By the way, I think Uncle Mo would beat Frankel in a one-mile dirt race."
Weisbord is a little more cautious about Europeans. "When they send over their best horses, their best horses win
The Same Day I'll Have Another Conquered Pimlico, England's Frankel Won No. 10 in a Row .By PIA CATTON http://online.wsj.comOn Monday, the British Horseracing Authority made a statement. In case you missed it, it said the British horse Frankel, which
Camelot versus Frankel would provide a memorable crowning moment
The Derby winner is expected to attempt to emulate Nijinsky's triple crown-winning feat, but it is Frankel he should be aimed at
Frankel versus Camelot. What would you pay to see it? A meeting between these two flashy, unbeaten colts ought to be as feverishly anticipated as any race ever staged and there is no good reason why it shouldn't happen.
We have spent much of the last year frothing over the possibility that Frankel might meet Black Caviar, an idea that lasted until last week, when it emerged that the Australian supermare would not even be entered for the Sussex Stakes, the only race in which they might have met. But that speculation always had a contrived air to it; why should a sprinter be matched against a miler?
There is no such problem with Camelot and Frankel, winners of the last two runnings of the 2,000 Guineas. Frankel is expected to step up to a mile and a quarter this summer and Camelot should be perfectly at home at that distance, midway between the lengths of the two Classics he has won in the past month.
It might happen in the Juddmonte International at York on 22 August or the Champion Stakes at Ascot two months later. Frankel is already committed to the York race, sponsored by his owner. Camelot's connections have only to choose to be there too and we will have a race that might be remembered for generations.
The fear, familiar to fans of Flat racing, is that considerations of stallion value will prevent such a meeting. There are easily enough Group One races through summer and autumn for the two to follow entirely separate paths, risking their unbeaten records only against animals known to be inferior.
Camelot is widely expected to be aimed at the St Leger in mid-September, when he would probably become the first winner of the Triple Crown (Guineas, Derby, Leger) since Nijinsky in 1970. Quite a few folk in racing are really excited by the prospect of history being made in this way and it seems that the partners in Coolmore, owners of Camelot, are leaning that way.
A Leger win would normally be poison to a stallion's value, such is the market's preference for speed over stamina, but that may not be the case here. It would merely prove Camelot's versatility and Coolmore would relish the chance to sell the services of the first Triple Crown winner for 40 years.
But he is already a 1-2 shot for the Doncaster Classic, so I find myself less than enthralled by the prospect. It would be different if, as in America, the Triple Crown climaxed with the race which was hardest to win.
On Saturday, I'll Have Another will try to add New York's Belmont Stakes to his recent victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Since Affirmed won all three in 1978, 11 horses have won the first two and failed in the third, a fact which assures enormous media coverage for the sport this week and will probably produce a crowd of more than 100,000 on the day.
Our Triple Crown is never won because it is never tried. Nashwan and Sea The Stars, the last pair to win the first two legs, skipped Doncaster. If Camelot lines up for the Leger, it will probably be his easiest win of the year and, as the Racing Post's Lee Mottershead noted yesterday, "there will be minimal interest outside our little parish".
So if the connections of Camelot and Frankel are to do the right thing by our sport, their priority will be to ensure that these two paragons are in the same place at the same time, once or perhaps twice, before both go to make their millions at stud.
There is only so much pleasure to be had from watching a very fast horse skipping clear of ordinary rivals, as Royal Ascot's patrons will discover when Frankel hacks up in the first race there in a fortnight's time. Together with Black Caviar, these are three of the very best racehorses that any of us will ever see. While we are privileged to have them all in Britain this summer, it would be nice to get two into the same set of starting stalls at some point. Our primary business, after all, is supposed to be horse racing, not horse praising.
We should be stingy in our praise of racehorses on the Flat, knowing that each hyperbole nudges them closer to the breeding shed. But we can afford to be more generous in relation to the sport's human participants and few cases are currently more deserving than Camelot's 19-year-old jockey, Joseph O'Brien.
Epsom is a racecourse where experience counts for an enormous amount and his lack of it may have contributed to his ride on Maybe in Friday's Oaks, just his fourth at the track, when their chance was compromised by an early barging match. So it was no small thing when he returned to Epsom the next day and won two Group One races, giving himself a 33% strike rate there.
Both winners were odds-on and everyone in the weighing room will believe they could also have achieved those victories. Still, his coolness in the circumstances was impressive. It does not seem to be rooted in arrogance, more the assurance of someone who was raised in the most powerful stable in Europe and feels no fear of being expelled from it.
On Camelot, he held his water a lot longer than the punters who offered 9-2 about his chance while Astrology was pulling clear at the top of the straight. Sometimes, that confidence will get him into trouble, as when he was beaten on St Nicholas Abbey in Ireland last month, but it is serving him well for the most part and no race in which he takes part will ever be dull.
Camelot versus Frankel would provide a memorable crowning momentThe Derby winner is expected to attempt to emulate Nijinsky's triple crown-winning feat, but it is Frankel he should be aimed atChris Cook guardian.co.uk, Frankel versus Camelot. What wo
Bookmakers running scared of Frankel ahead of Royal Ascot appearance
• Coral as short as 1-8 about world's highest-rated racehorse • Decision on Black Caviar's July Cup bid is expected soon
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 June 2012
Frankel, the world's highest-rated racehorse, may face a double-figure field for the first time since the 2000 Guineas in April 2011 when he attempts to extend his unbeaten streak to 11 races in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. Few of the entries have not tried and failed to beat Frankel in the past, however, and he will be one of the hottest favourites at the meeting in living memory, even if all 11 of his possible opponents go to post.
Frankel is top-priced at 1-4 for Tuesday's race, the opening event on the first day of the meeting, while Coral offers just 1-8. He is rated 10lb in front of Aidan O'Brien's Excelebration, who has finished behind Frankel four times already, by Timeform. The same firm's figures give him 13lb in hand of both So You Think – a more likely runner in the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday – and Strong Suit, who has drawn a blank from five previous starts at Group One level.
The remaining entries are priced at 25-1 and above, including Sir Mark Prescott's Worthadd, a Group Three winner in Germany this year, and Idomito, trained in Germany by Andreas Wöhler.
In an effort to generate some interest in what will otherwise be a lifeless betting heat, Coral also offers Frankel at 4-9 to beat his field by a greater distance than Black Caviar, the unbeaten Australian-trained mare who is currently the 1-3 favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Royal meeting.
Peter Moody, Black Caviar's trainer, said on Wednesday that the world's top-rated sprinter is "bouncing out of her skin" after the long journey to Newmarket, where she is being stabled for what may prove to be a fleeting visit to the UK. Moody, who will arrive in Britain shortly, was speaking to the Melbourne-based radio station RSN (Radio Sport Network).
"Tony [Hayden, Moody's assistant] said her general wellbeing is unbelievable," Moody said. "She's bouncing out of her skin and he said to me to please come over quick-smart and start doing a bit more work with the horse."
Black Caviar is likely to work on the Al Bahathri all-weather gallop in Newmarket on Saturday morning, and then exercise on grass on Tuesday, while Moody will decide shortly whether to send her to run in the July Cup at Newmarket early next month after her scheduled appearance at Ascot.
"It's a decision I've got to make quickly as if I do decide not to go to the July Cup I can put her into quarantine the night of the Royal Ascot race, which would enable her to get home a month or five weeks earlier," Moody said. "It'll basically be a matter of where she has a break, whether it's over there [in the UK] or here. It might even be smarter to do it over there if the weather's kinder."
Luke Nolen, Black Caviar's jockey, said on Wednesday that it will not be a concern if the ground rides soft on the final day of the Royal meeting.
"A genuine wet track, as long as they are getting fully in it, I don't see it being a great issue at all," Nolen said. "She goes very well at home in different conditions. She galloped very good in testing conditions and came through it with flying colours.
"I think Ascot will play to her strengths being a slightly tougher straight six [furlongs] than the one we are accustomed to at home. It's a testing six and I really do think it will play to her strengths.
"She's a wonderfully relaxed mare and I can ride her however I decide. She can give them a start, she can break them right up the middle of race and carve out sectionals that I've never seen a horse capable of. She can bring horses out of their comfort zone."
Australia is also represented in the entries for the first of Royal Ascot's Grade One sprint events, the King's Stand Stakes, which follows the Queen Anne, with Paul Messara's Ortensia one of 25 horses still engaged in the five-furlong contest.
The St James's Palace Stakes, the third of three Group One races on the first-day card, has attracted two supplementary entries at a cost of £25,000 among 22 colts that remain possible runners in the eight-furlong event.
Gabrial (Richard Fahey) and Lucayan, from Francois Rohaut's yard in France, were both added to the race to join Power, the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, and Foxtrot Romeo, the runner-up to Power at The Curragh.
Other possible runners include Born To Sea, a half-brother to Sea The Stars, and Brian Meehan's Cogito, who took the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown on 31 May.
Bookmakers running scared of Frankel ahead of Royal Ascot appearance• Coral as short as 1-8 about world's highest-rated racehorse • Decision on Black Caviar's July Cup bid is expected soonGreg Wood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 June 2012Frankel, t
Henry Cecil back in fashion as Frankel takes real flair to Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot's top trainer to saddle world's best racehorse but also harbours ambitions of a sideline in luxury tailoring
Chris Cook at Newmarket
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 June 2012
Before Frankel returns to the track on Tuesday, as an unimprovable opening act for this week's Royal Ascot, it may please the colt's followers to know that talk of his mellowing has been overplayed. The smart thing to say about him, officially the best racehorse in the world, is that he has become a professional in his third season but his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, reports that a certain amount of rock star behaviour persists.
"He's always smashing his box up," says Cecil, whose career tally of 73 wins at the Royal meeting is a record, 10 more than anyone else with a licence. "He breaks mangers and things like that. He's very hot-blooded.
"You can think it's a cold evening and you put a light under-rug on him and you find at 10 o'clock at night that he's tried to pull the rug over his head, which is dangerous. He can get tangled up and break his neck or a leg. So you have to watch him."
Cecil himself is the picture of refinement, his lean frame folded languidly into a wooden chair in the garden of his Warren Place stable, but his composure must sometimes have been troubled by the additional concerns that Frankel has brought into his life. Security cameras are in place, not just so that the horse can be saved from himself but also as an aid in spotting fans who have somehow found their way on to the premises. "People are inclined to wander in and suddenly … who the hell?
"'We've come to have a look at Frankel.'
"Well, you can't look at Frankel. He wants to be left in peace."
Cecil has made a priority of teaching Frankel to settle in his races, so it was with chagrin that he watched the horse at last year's Royal meeting, when his jockey, Tom Queally, fired him up in mid-race, though only the pacemaker was ahead of him.
"I don't think I've ever been so annoyed in my life," the trainer recalls. "To me, it was an absolute disaster. I hate even thinking about it; I want to forget. The horse did very well to get through it."
Frankel passed his pacemaker around the home turn but had been used up prematurely and was drunk with fatigue in the final furlong, winning by less than a length instead of his usual four or five. Did the famously urbane Cecil direct any harsh words at his jockey?
"I explained that we'd have to do something different in future. The damage was done. It was not very funny.
"But it's almost forgotten and Tom has got to know the horse and is riding very well now. He rides beautifully, he's got his confidence in every way. It's just one of those things. We all make mistakes. I've made hundreds in my life."
Cecil is good at modesty but there is little evidence of actual self-doubt. He is clear about his plan for Frankel's final year – Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday, Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, Juddmonte at York, Champion Stakes at Ascot – and is not the least impressed by other suggestions.
"I've tried to do, all the way through, what's best for him. I've read everything, what I should do and what I shouldn't do, what I haven't done and what people would have me do: having settled him down, bring him back [in distance] and make him into a sprinter and this, that and the other. I don't take any notice of that."
Frankel aside, he has other classy animals to run this week – Thomas Chippendale and Noble Mission on Friday, Stipulate and Wrotham Heath on Thursday. In Wednesday's Windsor Forest, he will field Chachamaidee, who "accelerated like a Frankel" to win at Lingfield. But, though he will have at least one runner, he will miss Saturday's action in favour of giving away his step-daughter at her wedding.
At the age of 69, six years after his stomach cancer was discovered, Cecil appears happy and much healthier than in the most difficult months of his treatment. Chemotherapy continues "more for maintenance at the moment. I don't seem to ever get tired. I'm here. Another day's another day.
"You've always got to be careful and eat very carefully. But so far, touch wood, I'm all right. I'm not saying I'm cured.
"That really hard chemotherapy was difficult. I never had a day off and you could hardly walk. The next day, I'd have to drag myself on to the Heath.
"Now, you might feel a bit funny for two or three days. I don't think of my health. I think it's the worst thing you can do." He pulls a mock-fretful face, mouths an agonised: 'Am I all right?' "Just keep looking forward. Got to."
Can he foresee a time when he will want to give up the day job? "I think I will. I will. Not quite yet. I enjoy it, it's a way of life. I think maybe I would cut down a bit.
"I'd love to be able to have more time doing other things. I'm very interested in clothes. I've got a great friend who's a tailor in London and I'm thinking of starting my own clothes design.
"I like really well-cut clothes and cashmere jackets with floral linings and all those sort of things. I think lots of the clothes people buy nowadays are not very exciting. I've got a sports jacket, chocolate herringbone, which is half cashmere and half mink, so it's not something you're going to find in Woolworths.
"I'm like a shopaholic, really. I love shopping. A lot of men, they don't like shopping, they head to the shops the night before Christmas.
"I could shop all week from nine o'clock in the morning until seven o'clock at night in London – doesn't matter if it's for women's clothes or pictures or books, it doesn't matter what it is, I enjoy it, which is not actually normal for a man. I feel I might have female hormones."
He would retire, he says, if Frankel's owner, Khalid Abdullah, stopped sending him horses. That, however, is not likely to happen, since Abdullah kept faith with him even through the lean times of 2005, when Cecil had just a dozen winners.
"I enjoy training his type of horses. I was very late-maturing and backward. Stupid as a child and everything. First one from my prep school ever to fail Common Entrance to Eton. School had been going 90 years or so.
"I'd like to think I was late-maturing and I like those sort of horses. And his horses, a lot of them are just taking a bit of time but they're worth waiting for, you know?"
Henry Cecil back in fashion as Frankel takes real flair to Royal AscotRoyal Ascot's top trainer to saddle world's best racehorse but also harbours ambitions of a sideline in luxury tailoring Chris Cook at Newmarket guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 June 2012
Sir Henry Cecil's colt looked the perfect racehorse in recording an explosive 11-length victory
Greg Wood at Ascot guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 June 2012
There was loud and generous applause as Frankel returned to the winner's enclosure after his extraordinary performance in the Queen Anne Stakes here on Tuesday, and a richer chorus of cheers than this most buttoned-up of venues can normally raise. But as attention turned to the next race on the card, and 40,000 spectators drifted back towards the bars and the betting windows, it was possible to wonder just how many of them appreciated the unique nature of the race that had just unfolded on Ascot's straight mile.
Frankel had, after all, been trailed extensively as the star attraction on the first day of the Royal meeting, and although there were very few of the banners and flags that marked his last trip to a racecourse at Newbury last month, a starting price of 1-10 left little doubt about the likelihood of victory. So perhaps there were those who saw one horse finish well clear of another and assumed that it was little more than all the insiders and form experts had expected.
It was not. Frankel has been brilliant throughout his career, and his 11-length winning margin on Tuesday was not even the easiest of his career, as he won a minor event at Doncaster in 2010 by 13. But this was not just Frankel's finest performance, it was possibly the best single performance by any horse, on any track, since three Arabian stallions were imported into Britain to found the thoroughbred breed in the early years of the 18th century.
It is some claim, for sure, given the millions of horses that have been bred and raced over the last 300 years, and one that can never be proved beyond doubt. Sir Henry Cecil, Frankel's trainer, is reluctant to compare him directly with the other champions he has personally prepared over the course of his illustrious 40-year career, so how can Frankel be measured against the great horses of the 19th century?
But it can be argued that since the middle of the 20th century, racing has developed into a more international, and competitive, sport than it had ever been in the past. And from the late 1940s the Timeform organisation has been rating the merit of every horse to start a race in Britain and, for much of that time, the best horses around the world too.
Until Tuesday, no horse had bettered the Timeform rating of 145 achieved by Sea-Bird, the winner of the Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1965. The French-trained colt coasted to victory in both races with an easy, almost effortless stride and even the great Dancing Brave, who won one of the strongest Arcs in history in 1986, could not quite equal his mark. Now, though, Sea-Bird is the second best horse in Timeform history, with Frankel rated not just one but two pounds better on 147.
"The facts are that Frankel's performance is likely to surpass anything witnessed in Timeform's 64-year history," David Johnson, the publication's Flat editor, said. "A point worth emphasising is the consistency with which Frankel has produced such performances. This is the fifth time he has produced a 140-plus rating."
It is not so much the number that matters, though, as what it represents. Breeding and racing thoroughbred racehorses is a pastime for the wealthy few but, even so, countless years of effort by many thousands of breeders over three centuries have been directed towards producing the perfect racehorse. Frankel is the horse that every one of them dreamed that they might create one day.
In his younger days, Frankel was headstrong and there were fears that there might be too much fire in his character to channel his talent effectively into victory after victory; at some point, he might pull and worry his way to a defeat.
The mature horse, though, is as close to perfection as the genetic balancing act between speed, stamina, physical strength and temperament is ever likely to get. He settles in the early stages, cruises until the quarter-pole and then runs away from opponents whose effort is already spent. Nor is it a simple change of gear from fast to faster. It is a smooth shift, a gradual buildup of power and momentum that means he can finish a Group One race with an 11-length advantage and still appear to have plenty of running left to give.
"I don't understand the assessments of different generations and countries and distances," Cecil said afterwards in the winner's enclosure. "I leave that to everyone else – to me it's all double Dutch. It's very difficult, what would have happened today if I'd had a Wollow, Bolkonski or Kris in the race, would they have been closer or further away?
"When you unleash him, he will quicken up for three or four furlongs, where a normal horse will quicken for one or two. He keeps going when other horses don't."
Cecil's mantra after every victory for Frankel is that "every horse is beatable". Injury too is an ever-present possibility, both on the racecourse and the Newmarket gallops. But if his physical health remains good, the well of racing ability in Frankel's frame is so deep that it he will surely go through his final three or four races unbeaten. It is not just that no horse in the world could have lived with Frankel on Tuesday. It is unlikely that any horse ever foaled would have beaten him either.
Timeform's all-time greats
147 Frankel: Unbeaten in 11 races with potential to improve over further
145 Sea-Bird: Devastating winner of the Derby and the Arc in 1965
144 Brigadier Gerard: Winner of 17 of 18 races before retiring in 1972
142 Abernant: Champion sprinter in 1949/50
142 Ribot: Arc winner who went 16 races undefeated in 1950s
142 Windy City: Champion two-year-old of 195
Sir Henry Cecil's colt looked the perfect racehorse in recording an explosive 11-length victoryGreg Wood at Ascot guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 June 2012 There was loud and generous applause as Frankel returned to the winner's enclosure after his extrao
Black Caviar ran at least a stone below her best form when scrambling home in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes according to Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority’s senior handicapper.
By HOTSPUR (J A McGrath)telegraph.co.uk
But the international panel, which meets in Hong Kong in December each year to finalise the World Thoroughbred Rankings, is likely to ignore the Ascot result in arriving at the Australian champion’s final figure.
“Putting it in footballing terms, she has won an away game,” said Smith, a former player before getting involved in racing. “It is not our job [in Britain] to assess her, but I would be surprised if Greg Carpenter [the Australian Handicapper with that responsibility] dropped her after Saturday. Clearly she has run well below her best. I would say 14lb below her best.”
Smith also indicated that the gap between Frankel, the world’s best horse, and Black Caviar had widened to 10lb following their Royal Ascot efforts. The Sir Henry Cecil-trained champion has been promoted from 136 at the start of the year to 140 following victory in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and his electrifying win in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Smith stressed that ratings posted during the season should be treated as progress reports. “They need to be agreed by the international panel at the end of the year, so they are far from final, and will be influenced by results before December,” he said.
For only the second time in 12 years there will be no runner from either Britain or France in the Irish Derby. Saturday’s race, which will be run at 7.45pm, has attracted 11 entries. Ballydoyle have six of them, headed by the Derby winner Camelot, while John Oxx has three entries, Jim Bolger one and Dermot Weld one.
It is interesting that Oxx has chosen to confirm Born To Sea’s entry in the Irish Derby following the colt’s promising effort when staying on to finish fourth in the St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at last week’s Royal meeting.
Oxx also has Akeed Mofeed, who won a maiden impressively at Leopardstown in September 2011 prior to finishing second in the Beresford Stakes on testing ground at The Curragh. The colt has not run in 2012 owing to niggling problems, but is considered a bright prospect
Frankel now 10lb better than Black CaviarBlack Caviar ran at least a stone below her best form when scrambling home in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes according to Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority’s senior handicapper.By HOTSPUR (J
Richard Fahey62 114 123 50/1 Dr Marwan Koukash 19Jun12 Asc 8GS C13yG1 167K 9-0 5/16 (4L Most Improved 9-0) 16/1 Jamie Spencer 101 * * 26May12 Hay 8Fm C23yHc 37K 9-1 1/13 (1¾L Lucky Henry 8-7) 9/2 Jamie Spencer 91 * * 10May12 Chs 8Sft C23yHc 14K 9-0 2/7 (¼L Arnold Lane 9-5) 2/1F Jamie Spencer 89 * * 07Apr12 Mus 8GS C23yHc 31K 9-1 7/12 (4L Chapter Seven 8-11) 8/1 Tony Hamilton 89 * * 14Jun11 Asc 6Gd C12yG2 48K 9-1 20/23 (17½L Power 9-1) 20/1 Paul Hanagan — * * 28May11 Bev 5GF C22y 9K 9-2 1/5 (½L Cravat 8-12) 6/5F Paul Hanagan — * *
By Peter Scargill racingpost.com 30 JUL 2012
FRANKEL will have just a trio of opponents in the Qipco Sussex Stakes for a second year running as he aims to extend his magnificent unbeaten sequence to 12 from 12.
With Frankel having dispatched every challenger put up against him by Aidan O'Brien, the Ballydoyle maestro did not declare any of his three runners, while champion trainer Richard Hannon has diverted Strong Suit to the Prix Maurice de Gheest.
Those absentees mean only Farhh, supplemented for the Group 1 contest by Godolphin, and Gabrial, from the Richard Fahey stable, are outside rivals to Frankel with stablemate Bullet Train also left in the race.
Last year, Frankel took apart a field that included Canford Cliffs, Rio De La Plata and Rajsaman and he is rated 18lb higher than Farhh, 29lb higher than Bullet Train and 32lb higher than Gabrial for this year's race.
Frankel's trainer Sir Henry Cecil says he has been happy with his star since he annihilated his rivals in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
"Everything has gone as we could have wished with Frankel since the Queen Anne Stakes. We gave him an easy time immediately after Royal Ascot before bringing him back into fast work," Cecil told his website.
"He has pleased us with his work and is going to the Sussex Stakes in good shape. We are taking one race at a time with him and are hoping that he can extend his unbeaten record."
However, Cecil will not be present at Goodwood on Wednesday and added: "Unfortunately, I won't be at Goodwood on Wednesday as I have been undergoing some treatment. Although I am able to train my horses I'm not quite fit to go racing yet, but I hope to be fully recovered in the near future."
3.10 GOODWOODQipco Sussex Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) Winner £179,487 CH4 Good 1m Number of runners: 4 1(2) 78-46 BULLET TRAIN 43 5 9-0 111 Ian MonganSir Henry Cecil46 84 118 150/1 bay horse Sadler´s Wells (USA)
Frankel may have three more races after cruising to Goodwood success
• Prix du Moulin could be added to schedule • Odds of 1-20 shortest ever for a top-class race
Greg Wood at Goodwood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 1 August 2012
Frankel, the world's best racehorse, extended his unbeaten record to 12 starts with an effortless success in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday and could yet go to post for three more races before he retires to stud at the end of the season.
Frankel had been expected to conclude his exceptional career with runs in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on 22 August and the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on 20 October. However, after a success at Goodwood which was little more than an exercise gallop against three opponents, it is now possible that an additional start will be added to his schedule in September.
"There are two obvious races for him now," Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdullah, Frankel's owner, said afterwards, "but there is a gap of nearly two months between them and [Sir] Henry [Cecil, Frankel's trainer] may decide to give him a race in between, possibly in something like the Prix du Moulin [at Longchamp on 16 September].
"We've always said we want to do the right thing for the horse and we've never shied away from a race. We just want to give him the best chance to show himself as the best and if there's a race to do that in, then we'll go for it."
A starting price of 1-20, returning £1.05 for every pound staked, implied that Frankel was one of the greatest racing certainties to peer through a bridle for many seasons before this race. That was duly confirmed as Tom Queally, his jockey, injected a burst of speed as he entered the final quarter mile of the one-mile contest to establish a decisive lead and then coasted through the final furlong to beat Farhh by six lengths.
"Every moment spent on Frankel's back is a special moment and today was no different," Queally said. "He is amazing and he had all the others cooked at a little after halfway. He does it all very easily and so therefore I have a very easy job. All I need to do is to steer him.
"Turning into the straight, I slipped him an inch of rein. You don't have to do much on him, he's so competitive and he has a will to win like no other horse I've ever ridden."
Frankel's starting price is believed to be the shortest for the winner of a Group One race in Britain since the introduction of the Pattern system for grading the quality of races in 1970.
The four-year-old's next start, over a mileand a quarter at York, will be his first at a trip beyond a mile, but the extra distance is not expected to trouble a colt whose headstrong tendencies as a two-year-old have disappeared with maturity. Ladbrokes offer a price of 1-4 about Frankel winning in Yorkshire, where he is again likely to scare off all but a handful of opponents as he seeks his 13th success from as many starts.
"It will be hugely exciting [to see him step up in trip]," Grimthorpe said, "it's a new challenge for him and I think it's what everyone wants to see him do and that he's ready for it. He is something else and we and racing are tremendously lucky to have him."
If the International also turns into a procession, it will increase the likelihood that Frankel will retire with the ultimate depth of his talent still unrevealed, as he may never find an opponent with the quality to extend him.
"We all have a pretty good idea how good he is now," Grimthorpe said. "This is not the pony club, we're not trying to jump over every skittle. We're just trying to do the best we can and make him as good as we can. Who he takes on, we can't decide that."
The camera crews at Goodwood for Frankel's latest victory included a team from CNN, but neither Cecil – who had never previously missed one of the colt's outings - nor Abdullah could be present at the Sussex track. Cecil is recovering at home after a recent bout of laryngitis and continuing chemotherapy for cancer, with which he was diagnosed six years ago, while the colt's owner has recently undergone a back operation in California.
"Henry is just the most exceptional trainer, he's proved that time and time again," Grimthorpe said. "His re-emergence [from several poor seasons in the early part of the century] is one of the great sporting stories, full stop.
"It's truly remarkable and we couldn't be luckier than to have him [Frankel] in such good hands. The world-class trainers have that feel and knack for a horse, what he should be doing and where he should be going.
"I think the glow [from Frankel's latest win] will extend both to Warren Place [in Newmarket] and to downtown Beverley Hills."
Frankel may have three more races after cruising to Goodwood success• Prix du Moulin could be added to schedule• Odds of 1-20 shortest ever for a top-class raceGreg Wood at Goodwood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 1 August 2012 Frankel, the world's bes
With group race winning brothers Bullet Train, Noble Mission and the peerless Frankel, the next offspring of dam Kind and addition to the talented family racing is probably on a hiding to nothing. And two-year-old Morpheus may be a slightly different
Frankel's grand finale could yet be the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
• Owner and trainer may consider switching last race to Paris • World's best racehorse extends unbeaten run to 13
Greg Wood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 August 2012
Throughout an extraordinary 13-race career which started back in August 2010, the question after every success for Frankel has been: Where next? Always the favourite and in all but one race at odds-on, Frankel has rewarded his supporters time and again, and the excitement has rolled on towards the next stop on his grand tour.
Now, though, the procession is drawing to a close, even as Frankel himself has started to break new ground by extending his range beyond a mile with his victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York on Wednesday. The final answer to that question, though, could yet be one that most racing fans had dismissed as an impossible dream. The mere fact that an attempt to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in early October at 12 furlongs was even discussed after Frankel's latest success offered at least some hope that it might yet come to pass.
The £737,000 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot, which has seemed to be the plan for many months, is a valuable and, for British racing in particular, an important alternative target, and it still remains the most probable destination for Sir Henry Cecil's colt.
Even the most patriotic British racing fan, though, would have to concede that there is something unique about the Arc and the long list of champions it has produced down the decades. The Champion Stakes may be the pragmatic target for Frankel, now that he has proved his ability at an extended 10 furlongs, but the Arc would be the one for a racing romantic.
"We'll discuss everything and Prince Khalid [Abdullah, Frankel's owner] will decide what he wants to do," Teddy Grimthorpe, the Prince's racing manager, said. "It's a nice decision to have.
"Obviously there is the [Prix du] Moulin [at Longchamp in September], which we've talked about before, there is the Champion Stakes, there is the QEII [over a mile on the same day] and there's a race called the Arc de Triomphe, which he's not entered in, so again we have to give that some consideration.
"Henry has just said to me that the horse will tell us where we're going."
Frankel's first run at a middle-distance trip was little different to many of the routs he has executed in the past. It did not have the explosive quality of his victory in last year's 2,000 Guineas, or the double-figure winning margin of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this year, but as he swept past a field including the top-class St Nicholas Abbey with Tom Queally still holding a tight rein, no one could doubt that they were sharing the Knavesmire with a freak of nature.
Much the same was said about Sea Bird II, the 1965 Derby and Arc winner, who seemed to float across the ground with a huge and impossibly easy stride. Wherever Frankel goes now, it is a memory that will live with anyone who saw him race, not least if by racing abroad for the first time he does indeed increase the number of people who can say they watched him race.
"You get so spoiled," Grimthorpe said. "You expect this from him. I don't want to sound arrogant at all, because the way he's come through and done everything is just so wonderful. It's just hard to believe and the expectations are just so enormous. But he keeps delivering time and time again, it's remarkable. "Each time you say 'that was amazing', then you see him again and it's fantastic. That is Frankel, I've never seen anything like him."
Frankel's victory dominated proceedings on the first day of the Ebor meeting, but the card also saw an important trial for next month's St Leger as Thought Worthy took the Great Voltigeur Stakes from Main Sequence under a well-judged ride by William Buick.
Thought Worthy's brother Lucarno, also trained by John Gosden, took the same race before going on to win the final Classic and he is now likely to join Gosden's powerful team for the Leger, where they must try to frustrate Camelot, the 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner, in his attempt to win the Triple Crown.
"The great thing about having an outside draw in a small field is that you can watch everyone," Gosden said. "William gave him a very smart ride and nicked three lengths travelling into the home straight. Lucarno won this and went to the Leger and won, and there's no reason why he shouldn't run either."
Frankel will be retired by the winter but his owner has something else to look forward to for next year, as his Dundonnell is among the leading contenders for the 2,000 Guineas, having achieved an impressive success in the Acomb Stakes. He was only three parts of a length in front of Steeler at the line but won despite not having the race run to suit and seemed to be idling close home.
"I was really impressed by that," said his trainer, Roger Charlton. "A mile should be absolutely fine for him. He obviously deserves to step up in grade, so that probably means a Group One race."
Ryan Moore missed day one of the Ebor meeting and will be out of action for some time, having broken a wrist in a fall at Warwick on Tuesday night. The jockey blamed the state of the turf, though officials insisted it was safe
Frankel's grand finale could yet be the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe• Owner and trainer may consider switching last race to Paris• World's best racehorse extends unbeaten run to 13Greg Wood guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 August 2012 Throughout an extr
Tom Queally admits he is unlikely to partner another horse as talented as the incredible Frankel for the rest of his riding career.
Sir Henry Cecil's four-year-old is unbeaten in 13 career starts and was arguably better than ever when stepped up to a mile and a quarter for the Juddmonte International at York last month.
Queally has been ever-present in the saddle and is still amazed at what the world's highest rated racehorse can do during his races.
"Frankel is brilliant colt, he's one in a million.
We'll never see another horse like him and I'll certainly never ride another one like him," said the jockey.
"He's able to do sprinting things in middle-distances - he's able to turn it on at halfway or at any point in the race.
"He's able to do those fractions, 11 seconds a furlong, and kill horses off. He's an amazing horse."
Following his demolition job at York, there was talk of a potential tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over a mile and a half.
However, that idea has now been scrapped and he will instead head for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 20 as the long odds-on favourite.
Queally feels there is little point in stepping Frankel up in distance further.
He said: "He's an exceptional miler and he's the best there is at a mile and a quarter
"He's thrashing the best, for want of a better word, at those distances so there's no need to do anything else."
Irishracing.com 9/SeptTom Queally admits he is unlikely to partner another horse as talented as the incredible Frankel for the rest of his riding career.Sir Henry Cecil's four-year-old is unbeaten in 13 career starts and was arguably better than ever
HE’S insured for a whopping £100million and has more security than Tom Cruise. With an international fan base, glossy locks and a body honed to perfection, people travel far and wide to see him perform.
Unbeaten in 13 races, with earnings in excess of £2.2million, Frankel has been hailed as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
But as he prepares to hang up his saddle after his final race at the British Champions Day meeting at Ascot on October 20, little is known about the personal life of this extraordinary colt.
The fillies will soon be lining up for the chance to have their own little Frankel, with their owners set to pay around £100,000 a pop in stud fees.
Rod Street, chief executive of horse race organisers British Champions Series, said:
“Frankel is the perfect race horse.
“He possesses speed, power and physical beauty.
“Forget one in a million. He’s one in a billion.”
Here ELLA BUCHAN takes a glimpse into Frankel’s family album, getting all the secrets of the world’s greatest racehorse from those who know him best.
FRANKEL was born on February 11, 2008 to mum Kind and dad Galileo – himself a champ with six big wins under his saddle.
He weighed 123lb at birth and stood out from the start.
He spent his early days at Banstead Manor Stud in picturesque Cheveley, near Newmarket in Suffolk.
Now retired, stud groom Jim Power said: “He was a straightforward yet sensitive horse, with a slight air of arrogance about him – really topclass racehorses often have that character.
“I think you have to have character to be a champion, in the same way the best academics, sportsmen or musicians often do. It sets them apart from the norm.”
He added: “I don’t agree with people who say he’s a freak – he lives to run.”
Grown-up, Frankel is the biggest horse in the yard, with size 7 shoes.
TRAINER Sir Henry Cecil knows Frankel better than anyone and, to him, he is more than just a racehorse.
The 69-year-old said: “He knows he is special.
He can’t understand it if we bring an owner into the barn he is in and it’s not to see him, so we always have to have a chat and look at him too.
“He is naturally competitive. Frankel is not the easiest horse as he can be quite hyperactive.
“He can also be rather playful in the box and have a nip at you. There’s no harm intended – that’s just him.”
JOCKEY Tom Queally, 27, who has won 13 races on Frankel since the thoroughbred began his career in 2010, said: “Frankel is a class apart from everything else in racing. He’s a powerhouse and ultra-competitive, sometimes the biggest problem is getting him to stop!
“I try to treat him like any other racehorse but I can’t help paying him a little more attention. I would like to think I will get to ride another superstar like Frankel at some point in my career but I know it won’t happen.”
FRANKEL wakes at 4.30am every day for breakfast, which is brought by head lass Dee Deacon. His stable at Sir Henry’s yard in Newmarket isn’t anything special but he likes it that way – and refuses to be moved to bigger and better stables.
This down-to-earth horse likes it where he is because he can see what is going on. His team have installed CCTV as an extra security measure – Frankel is one valuable beast.
He eats three times a day and much more than any other horse in the yard – about 23lbs of oats daily. He has to have Canadian oats and English hay – American hay is too rich for him. And he enjoys the odd carrot as a treat.
FRANKEL'S FAMILY ALBUM October 2012 By Ella Buchan dailystar.co.ukHE’S insured for a whopping £100million and has more security than Tom Cruise. With an international fan base, glossy locks and a body honed to perfection, people travel far and wid
Frankel leaves jockey Tom Queally in the shade during Newmarket blitz ahead of likely finale at Ascot
Tom Queally put himself in the shoes of most of his weighing room colleagues on Wednesday morning by watching Frankel disappear into the distance in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket.
By Telegraph Sport 10 Oct 2012
Sir Henry Cecil's colt, who is very likely to round off his incredible and so-far unbeaten career in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week, was partnered by his usual work rider Shane Featherstonhaugh on the Rowley Mile.
His professional rider Queally set the pace on Midsummer Sun, leading for six furlongs of the near-mile exercise before Frankel breezed past him and finished well over a dozen lengths clear.
Cecil had taken the world's top-rated horse to the same track the Saturday before last for another outing, where he was watched by a large crowd before racing, blitzing away from two stablemates before returning to applause in the winner's enclosure.
"This was more informal - he only had one lead horse this time - but he came away nicely clear as he always does," said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.
"Shane was on Frankel, Tom was on Midsummer Sun and everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It's so far, so good."
Frankel will be performing in front of a very important racing fan on the Berkshire course.
Charles Barnett, chief executive at Ascot, said: "We are delighted that The Queen will be coming to Qipco British Champions Day and she will present the trophy for the race named in her honour, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes."
Her Majesty could have a runner in that race, as last year's Investec Derby third Carlton House holds an entry
Frankel leaves jockey Tom Queally in the shade during Newmarket blitz ahead of likely finale at AscotTom Queally put himself in the shoes of most of his weighing room colleagues on Wednesday morning by watching Frankel disappear into the distance in
British wonder horse has won all his 13 races but 'has it all to do' on Saturday, according to the senior handicapper, Phil Smith
The Guardian, Sunday 14 October 2012
Five days before Frankel's final run is a good time for a reality check. The superstar colt, officially the best in the world, remains unbeaten in 13 career starts and the high-street bookmakers will offer no bigger than 1-7 that he keeps his record intact in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The sell-out crowd of 32,000 will, for the most part, take victory for granted and will be more interested in seeing the horse than the race, even though Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel are expected to line up against him. But here comes Phil Smith, British racing's senior handicapper, to disabuse everyone of their idle faith.
"This is undoubtedly his stiffest test to date," Smith said on Sunday. "There's no question that these are the best two horses he has taken on and he's got it all to do.
"On soft or heavy going Cirrus Des Aigles is a serious horse. We don't yet know that about Frankel because he hasn't raced on the type of ground we have seen over the past week."
The going at Ascot is soft all round after 5mm of rain on Saturday and Chris Stickels, the clerk of the course, holds out little reason to hope for anything different by the weekend. Showers are forecast for every day and, although the volume is hard to predict, Stickels feels there is a "strong possibility" of soft going when the Champion Stakes is run. It should be no worse than that; Ascot has staged Flat racing on heavy only twice in seven years.
Will Frankel get through the mud? His connections seem sanguine about soft and point out that he has raced on it once before, when holding off Nathaniel by half a length on his debut in 2010. They may withdraw him if the going turns heavy.
"I don't see why he wouldn't cope with it," Smith said. "The thing about soft ground is that it inconveniences some horses, so he might win but whether he can produce the level of performance we've seen from him I don't know."
That matters because, for all Frankel's many impressive displays, Smith is still waiting for the colt to do something so dramatic as to make him the best horse in the recent history of the official ratings. To this point Frankel has achieved a mark of 140, putting him just behind Dancing Brave, who carried the same colours of Khalid Abdulla and scored 141 in 1986.
It is a source of some chagrin to Smith, whose personal feeling is that Frankel really is the best Flat racehorse of his lifetime. "But it's difficult, at the moment, to prove it with the figures."
Frankel will be weighed in the balance for the final time in Hong Kong in December, when the world's senior handicappers meet to agree on definitive figures for this year's runners. His rating could go up at that stage but it could also go down. Bathos is the fear. Most racing fans feel Frankel deserves a better epitaph than "the second-best horse since 1985".
It is "hugely difficult" to make comparisons, Smith says, not least because handicapping has changed in personnel and in method over the past quarter-century. But the main problem is that Frankel has not faced the same quality of opposition that Dancing Brave pushed aside when winning his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
"There's no question that Dancing Brave ran against better horses than Frankel has met but then he never hammered them in the way that Frankel has. He gave them a start and ran past them.
"That's the difference between these two. One has beaten good horses by a mile, the other beat very good horses by not so far."
Now, in Cirrus Des Aigles and Nathaniel, Frankel faces worthy rivals, though Smith indicates he might still need to beat them by five lengths to get to 141. Does the handicapper regret that Frankel has never been sent abroad in search of greater challenges, as Dancing Brave was?
"No, I want him to run in Britain. This race is shaping up to be the best race in the world this year and that's what I want British racing to have. So let's hope the three of them all turn up in good shape and we'll see what happens."
On Sunday night the Chantilly-based trainer of Cirrus Des Aigles, Corine Barande-Barbe, confirmed that her horse was still on course for the Champion Stakes, having recovered well from his easy win at Longchamp the previous weekend. The two-week gap is not a concern for her, the gelding having won last year's Champion after taking part in the same prep-race.
"He's very well, he returned well from his race," she said. "I hear it's raining there but we don't mind that. Some other horses do mind."
Speaking at Newmarket on Saturday evening, John Gosden said of Nathaniel: "He worked here this morning and he worked nicely, so … one day at a time. Intended runner at this stage."
Asked if really deep ground might put him off, he replied: "No, I don't think so. It's autumn, you accept autumn ground. We'll probably get on and run him if he's in good order.
"It's great, they [Frankel and Nathaniel] had their first race together and, after this, they're both retiring to stud, so it's two bookends."
British wonder horse has won all his 13 races but 'has it all to do' on Saturday, according to the senior handicapper, Phil SmithChris Cook The Guardian, Sunday 14 October 2012 Five days before Frankel's final run is a good time for a reality check.
When a legend runs for the final time on Saturday, watching at Ascot will be, Sheikh Fahad, one of racing's major players who three years ago had never even visited a track
Mihir Bose http://www.standard.co.uk 16 October 2012
Saturday’s British Champions Day at Ascot has just about everything. With £3million in prize money it is racing’s richest day and will host Frankel’s last race.
There could be no better finale to the flat racing season than for the wonder horse to win the Champion Stakes and retire to stud unbeaten but he is up against last year’s winner, Cirrus Des Aigles.
Sheikh Fahad, whose family business QIPCO sponsors the British Champions Series, believes the French gelding could pose Frankel problems.
“It will be an interesting race,” says the member of the Qatar royal family. “If the ground becomes heavy, Cirrus Des Aigles has a chance.”
As I gasp at the thought that Frankel might be beaten, the Sheikh adds: “Maybe Cirrus Des Aigles will come to within two lengths of Frankel. When Frankel is running, there are two races going on: a Frankel race and a race for the rest of the field all scrapping for second. I doubt there’s anything in this world that can beat Frankel.”
The Sheikh speaks from personal experience, given that two of his horses, Strong Suit and Side Glance, were soundly beaten by Sir Henry Cecil’s horse in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot in June. He tells me that before the race, Side Glance’s jockey Jimmy Fortune whispered to him: “I’m going to get hold of Frankel’s tail. That is the best way for me to stay with him.”
With that the 23-year-old Sheikh bursts into laughter. Frankel, owned by Saudi prince Khalid Abdullah, may never belong to Fahad but he takes great delight in what the world’s best horse has done for the sport.
“We’re unbelievably blessed to have Frankel. Last year was our first year of sponsorship and on the very first day at the 2,000 Guineas, Frankel won. He has come with us through the journey and, if he finishes off at Ascot with a win, that will be a great year for us.”
Fahad has an integral role in one of the biggest days in the racing calendar but, remarkably, he only went to his first race meeting in 2010.
In fact, when the Sheikh arrived in London six years ago to begin his studies in business administration, his first love was football. His admiration for Arsenal deepened during visits to the Emirates but he says: “I also loved watching racing on television and decided that, when I finished my studies and started working at the family firm, I’d invest a bit in racing. I studied three years’ sales, seeing who buys what and the performance of these horses after they’ve been bought.”
The name of David Redvers came up on every list, prompting Fahad to call the bloodstock agent. But Redvers was in New Zealand and, to complicate matters, Fahad was due to return to Qatar in a fortnight.
“I told him, ‘If you come back to England in two weeks, that’s fine, if not I’ll have to see somebody else.’ Thank God he came over and explained the business to me. I told him, ‘I’ll give you a budget. You buy the horses. You select the trainers. You teach me about racing. This first year is a trial. If you do well, you stay and, at the end of the year, I will invest more. If you don’t, I’m going to find somebody else.’ He was happy to take that challenge and he’s done very well for us.”
So well that a horse Redvers bought in his first year, Dunaden, won the Melbourne Cup last November. By then Fahad had been to his first meeting, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. “I love the Guineas and Newmarket. My brothers want to win the Derby but my greatest ambition is to win the Guineas.”
Fahad almost purrs as he says this, confident of next year’s 2,000 Guineas. The horse that sustains that dream is Havana Gold. “Three months ago he ran against my horse [Pearl Acclaim] which was odds-on to win. Havana Gold was a 16-1 shot and beat my horse by a length and a half.”
This made such a deep impact he and his advisers monitored the horse and then bought it. “I am excited and I think we have a Guineas winner,” he says.
Fahad’s formula for buying and selling horses sets him apart from other rich foreign owners, most notably Sheikh Mohammed. The Dubai ruler has done much to sustain British flat racing but Fahad says: “We didn’t come into racing to be the top person. We’ve had tons of horses offered to us that went on to win Group One races. But the prices were ridiculous.
“For me, it is not about buying horses at crazy levels. It’s very easy to go and win every race you want but that’s just putting stupid money away.”
Along with this distinctive ownership style, Fahad has also questioned the many things about British racing that have mystified him. “For a person coming from outside, British racing is strange. The 2,000 Guineas is a very strange name. What are guineas? Why are races called Classics? I was surprised to find there was no equivalent of the Breeders’ Cup in America and there wasn’t a final day to end the season.”
Fahad’s questions had a major impact. “What I didn’t know was that the racing authorities were working on a strategy to have a Champions Series with a final day. They’d found that most people didn’t understand the racing season.
“The authorities wanted to make racing more like the Premier League with a final day like the last day of the Premier League season. Once they’d done that they came to us and asked, ‘Are you willing to sponsor this?’” Fahad’s brothers were not into racing but one visit to a racecourse converted them. He says: “You just need to go and see these super-equine athletes racing at 40 miles an hour.
“They loved the atmosphere, the thrill and adrenaline and said to me, ‘Buy us some racehorses.’”
Crucial to their decision to invest £10m was the Queen’s love of the sport. “Without her, racing here is not going to be worth as much as it is now.”
So nothing will please Fahad more than to see the Queen’s Carlton House win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Saturday, even though that would mean beating his own horse Side Glance. “I do believe in Side Glance if the ground is not heavy. But I would love the Queen to win, that would be great.”
His interest in racing does not mean he has forsaken his old love Arsenal although he confesses: “I’m quite sad that players like Robin van Persie have been sold. Arsenal are not spending enough money. I don’t mean crazy money but they need to reinvest.”
Not that he would be prepared to put in any QIPCO money, at least not at the moment. “I’ve got too much on my plate right now with racing. I don’t have time to take on another sport. Maybe in the future, who knows?”
Perhaps, if he finds a horse to match Frankel, he will then turn to Arsenal to see if he can help them win a trophy
Frankel's farewell romp When a legend runs for the final time on Saturday, watching at Ascot will be, Sheikh Fahad, one of racing's major players who three years ago had never even visited a trackMihir Bose http://www.standard.co.uk 16 October 2012Sa
Sir Henry Cecil tells BBC Look East it has been an honour to train the unbeaten Frankel. Cecil, who is battling stomach cancer, will saddle the four-year-old in what is expected to be his last ever race at Ascot on Saturday.
Sir Henry Cecil tells BBC Look East it has been an honour to train the unbeaten Frankel. Cecil, who is battling stomach cancer, will saddle the four-year-old in what is expected to be his last ever race at Ascot on Saturday.http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport
Corinne Barande-Barbe plots defeat of Frankel the 'extra-terrestre'
English champion racehorse is much admired by trainers in Chantilly but one of them has hopes of ending his unbeaten run.
Will Hayler at Chantilly
The Guardian, Tuesday 16 October 2012
The lofty ambition of making British Champions Day a truly global celebration of racing as yet remains largely unfulfilled as Ascot prepares to stage the event for a second time on Saturday, but the excitement of seeing Frankel face what should be the stiffest challenge of his career has evidently crossed The Channel.
"He is a very special horse, anyone can see that," said the high-profile trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré while watching his horses work on the gallops here on Tuesday. André Fabre, interrupted from minding his own business on the gallops next to Chantilly racecourse, was even more fulsome in his praise.
"It's just like looking at a museum piece," said Fabre, with the authority of a man who is soon to be confirmed as France's champion trainer for the 24th time. "He's probably the best horse ever bred. He has a combination of power and charm. He seems to have a great personality. An extraordinary animal."
Both men will have runners in the supporting races on Saturday but their less well-known neighbour Corinne Barande-Barbe has hope of beating Frankel with her top-class gelding Cirrus Des Aigles. With little more than two dozen horses in her team, Barande-Barbe shares with De Royer-Dupré and Fabre little more than a postal address on the Chemin des Eglises, the immaculate Chantilly gallops and her admiration of Frankel.
Classic success with the French Oaks winner Carling in the mid-1990s failed to spark a stampede of owners to her door and nor has the success of Cirrus Des Aigles, the details of whose 16 victories all seem to be etched upon his trainer's mind and are recited with glee.
But instead of harbouring resentment about her status as one of the sport's smaller players or her ongoing battle with the French racing authorities over a positive drugs test produced by Cirrus Des Aigles earlier this year, Barande-Barbe seemed too busy enjoying herself.
"I am a specialist at fairy tales," she said, smiling. "I don't want this to end. I want Cirrus Des Aigles to go on forever. Maybe he is still improving. Maybe he will be even better next year as a seven-year-old. Why not? It's all been a dream."
Unfashionably bred and virtually a gift horse, Cirrus Des Aigles arrived in her care as a weak yearling in 2007 and suffered an early loss at his new home when gelded within months, Barande-Barbe having discovered that one of his testicles had not fully descended and was causing him pain.
But since making his debut the following year when fourth of 14 in a maiden race, Cirrus Des Aigles has improved steadily to the point where, according to the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings, he is officially the second-best racehorse anywhere on the planet.
"I am not afraid of Frankel. Why should I be?" asked Barande-Barbe. "The better the field, the better my horse is. Frankel didn't come to France, so we will have to go to his place.
"It should be a good battle. The humble and the king-bred. That's the magic side of racing. Nobody can be sure that they have the best horse until they are on the track. Frankel really is an extra-terrestre. Everybody thinks it is impossible to beat him, but unless you try you won't find out."
As for the drugs test which saw France-Galop initially threaten to withdraw Barande-Barbe's licence, the trainer is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against a fine she received for the positive sample, taken after the horse finished second at Longchamp in May. A separate police inquiry, instigated at the trainer's request, also remains open.
"France-Galop have written a long letter to the laboratory that did the testing and we will wait to find out more," she said. "In my opinion, you first ask those questions before having an enquiry, but who knows?
"I was upset because they tested the urine but not the blood and I want to know how he came to give a test for such a massive dose of anti-inflammatories. Did someone put something in his food or his water? We saw the video of him in the racecourse stables and there were so many people coming and going that day. Was it someone who wanted to hurt him? The sort of dose he was given could have been toxic.
"It was a hard time and I still have so many questions. Did he receive it after the race or before? How did it get into his system? Why didn't they test his blood? Was it contamination at the laboratory? All I want to do now is know the truth."
Corinne Barande-Barbe plots defeat of Frankel the 'extra-terrestre'English champion racehorse is much admired by trainers in Chantilly but one of them has hopes of ending his unbeaten run.Will Hayler at Chantilly The Guardian, Tuesday 16 October 2012
£100 million, Frankel is most valuable stallion prospect ever.
Khalid Abdulla knows full well that he has an extremely valuable property on his hands – industry experts value Frankel at £100 million for stud purposes – but he is eager that his horse gets the chance to prove himself a champion in the breeding sheds as well as on the racecourse.
By HOTSPUR (J A McGrath) telegraph.co.uk
When this equine phenomenon retires after running his 14th race in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot, he will take up residence at his owner’s Banstead Manor Stud, at Cheveley, just two miles from Warren Place in Newmarket, where he has spent his racing career.
Contrary to widespread belief, Prince Khalid plans to make Frankel available to mares owned outside his own Juddmonte Farms operation, which offers the great horse every chance of becoming another successful stallion who is a son of Coolmore super sire Galileo.
No stud fee will be set until after Saturday, but it not unreasonable to expect the figure to stretch to a six figures. With up to 200 mares served each year, and based the income generated over his first four years as a sire, Frankel is worth around £100m, which makes him the most valuable unproven commodity in breeding ever.
So, if one the new wave of fabulously wealthy owners seen at Tattersalls Sales in Newmarket last week were to step forward with their chequebook, could Frankel be bought? “I doubt it,” Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Prince Khalid, said with a nervous chuckle. “He’s not for sale, as far as I know,” he quickly added.
With the focus having been on the build-up to Frankel’s last race, very little has been revealed about the life he can look forward to as a stallion.
When he returns home on Saturday, it will be the responsibility of trainer Sir Henry Cecil and his staff to encourage the colt to wind down gradually over a period weeks.
Switching from a racing regime, during which he has been finely-tuned to consistently excel at the highest level, to a relatively more leisurely environment, albeit with the demands of his new job, is never easy. Though he could well take to it naturally, he will need to quickly learn the drill as a new stallion next spring.
“The aim is to make him a successful stallion, but there are many unknowns,” Lord Grimthorpe said. “We would like to make him available to other breeders because it helps you to know more about what’s going to fit and suit. It’s trial and error, and the outside mares help give you the width. You really don’t know what [bloodlines] will work until you give it a try. If you restrict the [type of] mares available, it doesn’t help.”
As far as setting a fee is concerned, Lord Grimthorpe said it had yet to be finally discussed. “It is about getting the balance right, with a stallion who is unproven. There are many factors, nothing is guaranteed,” he said.
But what is assured is the interest in a horse being acclaimed as the greatest to have raced in Britain in four decades. It is difficult for a champion racehorse to actually sire one who is his equal, or even better.
Mill Reef was a successful sire but found it impossible to pass on his unquestioned class and superb versatility to his progeny. Nijinsky sired winners of the Epsom Derby and Kentucky Derby, but again, he produced nothing that equalled his outstanding qualities.
What is encouraging with Frankel is that he comes from the most successful sire line of the past 50 years, one that seems to have been getting stronger and better with each generation. Frankel is a son of Galileo, who is a son of Sadler’s Wells, who, in turn, is a son of Northern Dancer, who was the bedrock on which Vincent O’Brien established Ballydoyle, as well as Coolmore.
It is interesting to note that Frankel came from a band of 10 young horses who had been the pooled result of an exchange programme between Juddmonte and Coolmore, under which each stud made use of the other’s stallion with selected mares.
The collection of young horses were then allocated. “That year, Juddmonte had first choice and I’m very pleased to say we selected the colt, who is Frankel,” said Lord Grimthorpe
£100 million, Frankel is most valuable stallion prospect ever.Khalid Abdulla knows full well that he has an extremely valuable property on his hands – industry experts value Frankel at £100 million for stud purposes – but he is eager that his h
How do you beat a horse like Frankel? You don't. He is a different beast altogether
Frankel aims to close his record-breaking career on a high in the Qipco Champion Stakes on Saturday. Here, jockeys who rode in each of his 13 races describe what it was like to be beaten by a super horse.
By Marcus Armytage telegraph.co.uk 18 Oct 2012
EBF Maiden Stakes, Newmarket. Aug 13 2010
William Buick rider of Nathaniel, 2nd, beaten by half a length
There was a lot of talk, as there often is before a maiden when you have a few nice well-bred but unraced colts in it. Sir Henry Cecil's stable fancied theirs and we had a fair idea that Nathaniel was decent. It was a good maiden on paper and rode like a good race but it wasn't possible at that stage to foresee the future for either horse [Nathaniel has won three Group One races]. You always hope horses which have run well first time out will live up to your expectations but it doesn't often happen like that.
Frank Whittle Partnership Condition Stakes, Doncaster. Sept 10 2010
Michael Hills Diamond Geezah, 3rd, beaten 17l
There were only three runners after Farhh was withdrawn at the start. I suppose it was the first indication we had that Frankel might be well above average. He set off very keen and I think Tom Queally gave up trying to hold him after half a furlong. After that he was in a race on his own! I'd never seen a horse pull so hard and still be wanting to go faster at the end. Usually they're cooked by then.
Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, Group Two, Ascot. Sept 25 2010
Kieren Fallon Klammer, 2nd, beaten 10l
Most of the times I've ridden against him he's just been an ever-decreasing blip on the horizon and it was the same this day although he was still mentally immature then. He's a freak. I've never seen a horse with his ability to kill off the opposition and now that he settles in his races he's the complete racehorse. It's great to have been around him if only on the wrong end of a few hidings. My only disappointment is that they didn't take him to America so everyone could see him. He'd have killed them out there, too.
Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, Group One, Newmarket. Oct 16 2010
Kevin Manning Glor Na Mara, 3rd, beaten 5l
I remember him being a bit keen early on. I think he got a bit rattled when squeezed up by a couple of others early but what I remember most was that when Tom Queally gave him the signal to go there was only ever going to be one winner. It may not have got the rave reviews of some of his later races but I was very impressed. It was the way he did it, from the Dip home. If I close my eyes I can still see him lengthening away from us now.
Totesport.com Greenham, Group Three, Newbury. April 16 2011
Adam Kirby Excelebration, 2nd, beaten 4l
Both horses were having their first start of the season and there was a split second, about two furlongs out, when I honestly thought I might beat him and I don't suppose many people can say that. Tom had to give him a slap which I don't think he'd had to do before and then he went away from me in the closing stages. At the time, some commentators said he hadn't been impressive beating my 25-1 shot but, though we didn't know it at the time, it turned out to be one of the best Greenhams ever run. Excelebration turned out to be a proper Group One horse and, in any other era, would have been the superstar.
QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, Group One, Newmarket. April 30 2011
Martin Dwyer Happy Today, 3rd, beaten 23l
The main thing for me was coming out of the starting gates. I was conscious we had gone pretty fast – and by that I meant the sort of pace you would expect for a five-furlong sprint [the 2,000 Guineas is run over eight furlongs]. After two furlongs I looked up, saw this horse 10 lengths in front and turned to the jockey beside me and said 'f--- me, how fast is the pacemaker going?' Then I looked again, saw the pink cap and realised it wasn't the pacemaker, it was Frankel. It was unbelievable. I've never seen a horse that powerful or go that fast and we won't ever see another like him, of that I'm sure."
St James's Palace Stakes, Group One, Royal Ascot. June 14 2011
Frankie Dettori Neebras, 4th, beaten 2½l
It was probably the least impressive of all his races but I have ridden against him 11 times and all I can say is that it has been a great honour and it has pretty much always been the same story. This was the only occasion he has started to stop at the end of race. I've felt finishing second to him – as I have twice on Farhh – is as good as winning.
QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Group One, Goodwood. July 27 2011
Richard Hughes Canford Cliffs, 2nd, beaten 5l
The disappointing thing for me in the 'Duel on the Downs' is that I knew I was beaten after 100 yards and that was nothing to do with Frankel – there was something wrong with Canford Cliffs. Having said that, I've never seen anything like Frankel and we'll never see another like him.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Group One, Ascot. Oct 15 2011
Jamie Spencer Excelebration, 2nd, beaten 4l
The thing about Frankel is his relentlessness. From half a mile out, it's like having someone suck all the energy out of your own horse. Excelebration has as good a turn of foot as any horse in training and Frankel comes along and makes him feel completely one paced. That's not detracting from Excelebration - it's just how good Frankel is.
JLT Lockinge Stakes, Group One, Newbury. May 19, 2012
Joseph O'Brien Excelebration, 2nd, beaten 5l
I managed to sit beside him to halfway, at which point Tom Queally started to ask Frankel to quicken up. He just got quicker and quicker and quicker – all the way home. Excelebration is a good horse, a world beater in many other eras, but Frankel is a different beast altogether. I should think he is the finest racehorse there has been for a long time.
Queen Anne Stakes, Group One, Royal Ascot. June 19 2012
Jimmy Fortune Side Glance, 3rd, beaten 11l
We went a reasonable gallop from the start and Joseph O'Brien, riding Excelebration, tried chasing him. That gave the rest of us a chance to get reasonably close to him at the finish but Frankel was awesome that day. It was probably his best performance. Whatever way you try, you can never beat him. He kills off the opposition. He breaks hearts. I don't think I've seen one like him in my life and don't think we'll see another.
QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Group One, Goodwood. Aug 1 2012
Paul Hanagan Gabrial the Great, 3rd, 9¼l
I didn't see much of him apart from when we were walking around at the start! I do remember there being a great buzz around the race and the excitement of riding against him – and now I can always say I rode against Frankel. That's one to tell the grandchildren about. You don't mind being beaten when it's by a horse like him. It's just great to be near him.
Juddmonte International Stakes, Group One, York. Aug 22, 2012
Eddie Ahern Bullet Train, 5th, beaten 13½l
I was on Frankel's pacemaker this day. The way he goes by you is unbelievable. You'll be riding away on your horse and you don't stop but then you'll watch him go by and just lengthen away into the distance. It's awesome. It's great to have played a part, albeit very small, in the Frankel story and to be associated with him. Now I am wondering who they'll get to play me in the movie!
Bookies get in a flutter over when Frankel will retire as concern grows over heavy going Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdulla, Frankel’s owner, sparked a flurry of unexpected excitement in bookmaking circles yesterday when he refused to rule out the possibility of the great horse running again next year.
By HOTSPUR (J A McGrath)telegraph.co.uk 18 Oct 2012 For most, retirement had been accepted as the only option after Saturday, hence the reaction.
No sooner had the interview been shown on Sky Sports News than BetVictor were quoting 11-2 about Frankel reappearing in 2013, although they were quick to add that he was also 1-10 to disappear to the breeding sheds in retirement, no matter what the result in Ascot’s Qipco Champion Stakes, in which the colt is scheduled to face five rivals, including his pacemaker Bullet Train.
What had appeared a clear-cut situation regarding retirement suddenly became one enveloped in a haze of uncertainty, especially as the ground at Ascot is already soft and, with more rain forecast, the likelihood that there could be heavy patches on the round course has become a cause for concern to some Frankel fans.
But in the aftermath of yesterday’s television slot, Lord Grimthorpe moved quickly to clarify matters. “As far as I know, the Ascot race will be his last start. But we must respect the fact that the final decision rests entirely with Prince Khalid. Frankel is his horse, though he appreciates that he is now sharing Frankel with the public. It [retirement] is a personal decision, and it will be Prince Khalid’s.
“You never know in this game. Say, there were 59 inches of rain overnight......?”
That horrible scenario would be too much for most to contemplate on the eve of the second Qipco British Champions Day, designed as the showcase finale to the British season. But it is a real concern to connections of the favourite, who is a best-priced 1-4 on the Betfair exchange.
Trainer Sir Henry Cecil said yesterday: “I am pretty confident he will be fine in soft ground, but if it’s heavy, we are in no-man’s land. He has never encountered it, and with his action and turn-of-foot, I cannot be sure he would appreciate it.”
If conditions are testing, connections will be hopeful that Frankel can emulate his sire Galileo, who registered a 14-length win in heavy ground in a Leopardstown maiden on his racecourse debut in October 2000.
Galileo later proved himself on all types of going, but if anything has been passed on through the genes, it could be of assistance to Frankel as he attempts a 14th consecutive win.
Cecil, who did not attend yesterday’s press conference in Newmarket, said in a statement that he had been very pleased with Frankel’s final piece of work. “I could not be happier with him. He seems full of himself and, considering the time of the year, he is really good and healthy in his coat. He eats everything put in front of him,” he pointed out.
The celebrated trainer publicly admitted that those around him, and the responsibility of training Frankel, had helped him through a difficult year throughout which he had underdone treatment for cancer.
“I am so lucky to have been allocated Frankel to train. He has been an inspiration and challenge, which I really needed so badly,” he said.
“Throughout my illness, I feel that the help from my wife, Jane, and the determination to be there for Frankel has helped me so much to get through the season.”
Lord Grimthorpe said that as a matter of routine, he always walked the track before racing, and that tomorrow would be no exception, prior to Frankel’s clash with Nathaniel and Cirrus Des Aigles. “The general safety and the well-being of the horse is our priority,” he said
How do you beat a horse like Frankel? You don't. He is a different beast altogether Frankel aims to close his record-breaking career on a high in the Qipco Champion Stakes on Saturday. Here, jockeys who rode in each of his 13 races describe what it w
guys i have laid Frankel for a fair amount, feel like a traitor, on saturday i will cheer him home and feel very happy if he wins, some things are worth more than money, but i have a bad feeling hence the lay, wished they would pull him out and call it a day
guys i have laid Frankel for a fair amount, feel like a traitor, on saturday i will cheer him home and feel very happy if he wins, some things are worth more than money, but i have a bad feeling hence the lay, wished they would pull him out and call
if he beats cirrus easily i will take my hat off to him,the first time i believe he has met a serious horse.pastorius could run a big race too.i find it hard to believe that frankel will not get a race on saturday.good luck to all !
if he beats cirrus easily i will take my hat off to him,the first time i believe he has met a serious horse.pastorius could run a big race too.i find it hard to believe that frankel will not get a race on saturday.good luck to all !
Frankel: the full story of the world's greatest racehorse
As Frankel faces his final race, Brian Viner talks to his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, and others who know the world's greatest racehorse best.
By Brian Viner telegraph.co.uk
19 Oct 2012
Frankel. It is not a name that rolls off the tongue, like those of some other great thoroughbred racehorses, such as Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard.
But in racing people it ignites sheer wonder, for Frankel is the superstar of Flat racing, not simply unbeaten in 13 races, but untouchable.
In monetary terms his potential to sire future champions makes him the most valuable single sporting commodity on the planet. It is said £100 million would not buy him.
At Ascot tomorrow afternoon Frankel and his jockey, Tom Queally, will attempt to extend their winning run to 14 races out of 14. Should they fail, the shock will radiate far beyond Berkshire, the more so as tomorrow’s big race, the Qipco Champion Stakes, is likely to be Frankel’s valediction. At four years old, the racehorse said by some to be the greatest ever foaled is on the verge of retirement.
If his owner, the billionaire Saudi businessman Prince Khalid Abdullah, does decide to call time on this epic chapter in Flat racing (as distinct from National Hunt, or jump racing), then when tomorrow’s meeting is over Frankel will be driven back to the Warren Place stables in Newmarket, owned by his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, and attention will turn to his forthcoming stud career, where his colossal value now lies. Some 120 brood mares a year will visit him, their owners paying at least £100,000 in the event of a foaling. That might go on for the best part of two decades.
No one could have foreseen all this on the day Frankel was foaled – February 11 2008 – at Banstead Manor stud near Newmarket, the breeding arm of Prince Khalid’s Juddmonte racing operation. True, the young bay colt had a marvellous lineage. His parents were the 2001 Derby winner, Galileo, and Kind, a mare who had won five consecutive races in 2004. But equine breeding is an inexact science. 'As [the American breeder] Bull Hancock said, “You send the best to the best and hope for the best,”’ Philip Mitchell, who runs Banstead Manor stud, told me.
The first signs that the progeny of Galileo and Kind might not only live up to expectations but exceed them emerged on a July morning in 2010, the day of Frankel’s first proper gallop, with Queally in the saddle, on the vast Limekilns training ground a couple of miles outside Newmarket. Among those watching was Prince Khalid’s racing manager, Lord Grimthorpe, whose job it is to liaise every day with the 14 trainers of the prince’s 250 horses worldwide, and report nightly to his patron. In a lifetime in racing, he said, he had never seen a spectacle like it. One moment Frankel was bunched up with his stablemates, the next he was streaking away as if the others were hauling ploughs.
'I have to watch a lot of gallops and know how misleading it can be when you don’t know all the horses, weights or instructions,’ Lord Grimthorpe told the racing journalist Brough Scott. 'But you could not mistake this. He was going so fast at the end we thought he would finish in Newmarket High Street. When we gathered afterwards, nobody said anything, and Queally was white as a sheet.’
Henry Cecil knew better than anyone that impressive speed on the gallops is not always replicated on the track, yet his natural reticence hid a growing excitement at the possibilities for this still-unnamed colt. 'I realised he was out of the ordinary about halfway through the year,’ Cecil told me in his oak-panelled study at Warren Place. 'There was something very different about him.’
The same might be said of the charismatic Cecil. He started training as an assistant to his elderly stepfather, Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, before striking out on his own in 1969. There followed 30 years of steady and sometimes spectacular success, before a precipitous, disastrous decline at the start of the new century in both his professional and personal fortunes. His beloved twin brother, David, died of cancer; his second marriage disintegrated; he even lost his driving licence for five years. Then he, too, was diagnosed with cancer, of the stomach, and all the while the yard produced fewer and fewer winners, hitting an all-time low in 2005, with only 12.
Many racehorse owners severed their ties with him, but Prince Khalid stayed loyal. The 75-year-old prince, the brother-in-law of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, had been involved in British racing since the 1970s, and with Cecil since 1990. They had forged a firm friendship. But business is still business. And although Cecil’s travails had compounded the affection in which he was held by the racing public, plenty felt he was a busted flush.
Happily, the yard returned to form. And little though anyone knew it on the day Prince Khalid sent him 'the Galileo colt’, Cecil’s greatest triumphs were yet to come. For Lord Grimthorpe it is the comeback of all comebacks. 'Henry’s gone from the Premier League to practically the Conference and back,’ he said, offering a football analogy. 'It is one of the great sporting achievements.’
Characteristically, Cecil plays down his talents. 'I’m qualified to do nothing,’ he said. 'I was the first student ever to fail Common Entrance into Eton from an Eton prep school. But I got a chance as my stepfather’s assistant. I’ve been very lucky.’
His luck remains variable. Cecil, 69, is currently being treated for cancer for the second time. The weight has dropped off him, the beautifully cut suits hang limply, and, when we talked, a throat infection had reduced his voice to a hoarse whisper. 'I look like death,’ he rasped, 'and when people see me they’ll think I’m going to die tomorrow. But I’m not.’ Chemotherapy, he assured me, was doing its job. He would get better. All the same, his illness adds poignancy to Frankel’s success. The horse appears to have intensified Cecil’s already fierce will to live.
'I love life,’ said Cecil, whose staccato sentences have more to do with his patrician background than his ill-health. 'I’ve always been a winner. I’ve had bad times – personal or financial, no horses, bad years – but I don’t like being an also-ran. I have responsibilities. I’m married again. And I’m very determined that I have to be there for Frankel. So he has helped to keep me going.’
Three months after his first gallop at Limekilns, the horse, by now named Frankel (after Bobby Frankel, one of America’s most successful trainers, who trained many winners for Prince Khalid, and who died of leukaemia in 2009), demonstrated his abilities where it really mattered, at Ascot. The Royal Lodge Stakes was Frankel’s third race, but the first in which he obliterated top-class opposition, winning by 10 lengths and pulling clear of the others 'like a greyhound that had just slipped its leash’, according to Brough Scott.
It was becoming clear that the length of Frankel’s stride would be the main weapon in his armoury. Along with a formidable lung capacity, it helps him to accelerate more than once in a race. Even the finest racehorses can normally find only one extra gear; Frankel has two, sometimes three. The horses that can keep pace with him the first time he quickens have nothing left to give when he quickens again. And although he is not huge, he has unusually large feet, which even in a gallop he sets rather than stamps down, making him less reliant than most horses on the condition of the ground.
Following the Royal Lodge Stakes, the bookmakers, always a nose ahead of the betting fraternity, immediately slashed Frankel’s odds for the following year’s 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the first of the Flat racing season’s so-called Classics (five prestigious races open only to three-year-olds).
On April 30 last year Frankel started the Guineas as the shortest-priced favourite since 1974, and went on to make his 1/2 odds look downright generous: his performance was simply one of the most dominant in the venerable race’s 200-year history. In the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot this summer, which he started at odds of 1/10, Frankel won by 11 lengths, compelling racing correspondents to reach for new superlatives. 'This was not just Frankel’s finest performance,’ Greg Wood wrote in the Guardian, 'it was possibly the best single performance by any horse, on any track, since three Arabian stallions were imported into Britain to found the thoroughbred breed in the early years of the 18th century.’
Of course it isn’t simply Frankel’s natural assets that propel him across the turf so much faster than the competition; he has been impeccably handled by Cecil and his devoted team at Warren Place, all of whom speak about him with great affection, and some as if he were human.
'He’s very much his own person,’ Cecil said. 'He has a presence. It’s rather like people. Through my training career I’ve come across so many people I’d never otherwise have met, whether it be princes or successful businessmen. Most have an ambience about them, a lot of presence and panache. Good horses have the same thing.’
Shane Featherstonhaugh, a 35-year-old Dubliner who rides Frankel daily in training, agrees. 'He’s a big alpha male,’ he says. 'He’s not one for petting.’ Like his colleagues, Featherstonhaugh tries not to think about Frankel’s eye-watering value. 'They talk about hundreds of millions, but that has no meaning to me,’ he said. 'I don’t understand those numbers.’
What he does understand is riding, yet neither he, nor Cecil, nor anyone else, can make any racehorse run quicker than muscle and sinew allow. All they can do is minimise the dozens of imponderables that might obstruct its development.
'What people don’t sometimes understand,’ Lord Grimthorpe explained, 'is just what it takes to get a horse to the races in good fettle once. To get him there 13 times, to get out of him the sort of performances that people crave, want and adore, is quite extraordinary. The combination of things that have to go right is not quite the Lottery… but it’s up there.’
Among those charged with ensuring that the Lottery balls fall as favourably as possible is Frankel’s groom, Sandeep Gauravaram, a 32-year-old former jockey from Hyderabad. An engaging but shy man, he is still not comfortable with the attention that Frankel’s fame has brought his way. But, brought in to Cecil’s study to talk about the wonder horse, he became animated.
'He wants things done his way,’ he said. 'We tried to move him to one of the bigger boxes, and he didn’t like it. He tried to jump out, he sulked, he wouldn’t eat.’ This was the stretch of stables known by staff as Millionaires’ Row. It is where Cecil has kept all his most prized horses, but not Frankel. He stayed in his swanky new surroundings for less than two days before being returned to the barn in the oldest, least salubrious part of the yard, where lorries come and go all day, and where, traditionally, the also-rans live.
Such willpower made Frankel tricky to handle early on in his career. As Cecil’s travelling head lad, responsible for getting horses to courses, and for their welfare once they are there, Michael McGowan had a few run-ins with the rising star. 'As a two-year-old he was quite difficult,’ McGowan recalled. 'But at three he became more settled, and now he’s the complete professional.’
This was confirmed by the 29-year-old Irishman whose happy destiny it is to be forever bracketed with Frankel in the record books. 'He’s grown up no end,’ Tom Queally told me, as he sat outside the weighing-room at Newmarket Racecourse. 'He’s so mature now, much more relaxed. Even as a three-year-old he could be very fiery, but pure class got him through. Now, I’ve amazing belief in him. I couldn’t pull him up at York [where Frankel last raced, in August, winning the Juddmonte International Stakes, sponsored by Prince Khalid, by a street]. Some horses are triers, but they’re normally low-grade animals. For a horse with so much at his disposal, he just gives you so much. I’ve ridden some very good horses, but when they get to the front they think they’ve done enough.’
Henry Cecil has grown used to the claim that Frankel is the greatest racehorse of all time, and treats it with a mix of pride, gratitude and self-deprecation. 'Good horses help make successful trainers,’ he said, 'and I’ve had a lot of champions. And I didn’t live in the days of Sceptre [the only horse to win four British Classics] in the early 1900s. So it’s very difficult to compare. But it would be wrong to say he isn’t the best horse there’s ever been… because he could be.’
Cecil admitted that there will be a tear in his eye on the day Frankel leaves the yard. 'I may be training for 30 more years,’ he said – with a wry smile, as if daring me to contradict him – 'but it’s very unlikely that I’ll get another one like that.
Frankel: the full story of the world's greatest racehorseAs Frankel faces his final race, Brian Viner talks to his trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, and others who know the world's greatest racehorse best. By Brian Viner telegraph.co.uk19 Oct 2012Frankel. It
Frankel: farewell to the greatest racehorse in history
Greg Wood Friday 19 October 2012 The Guardian guardian.co.uk
As Henry Cecil's unbeaten wonderhorse races for probably the final time in Ascot's Champion Stakes on Saturday, racing insiders explain why Frankel is the best they have ever seen
It was on a late September afternoon in 2010 that Frankel first did something extraordinary. It was his third trip to a racecourse, for the Royal Lodge Stakes, and his first to Ascot, where he will return to conclude his brilliant career on Saturday afternoon. Frankel gave some good horses a head start, then chased them down in half a dozen strides on the turn for home and increased his lead all the way to the line to win by 10 lengths. He did not just look good, or even merely exceptional. For the first time, Frankel looked unbeatable.
Two years later, he still does. One more victory, in the QIPCO Champion Stakes, will complete a perfect 14-race winning streak, and set Frankel alongside the greatest undefeated champions in 300 years of thoroughbred racing. Yet it is a measure of how much he has achieved since that first trip to Ascot that the Royal Lodge, the race that announced his brilliance, is now a relative footnote to the story of his racing life. In a list of Frankel's 13 races arranged according to their power to astonish, it might just sneak into the top six.
It is what sets Frankel apart, not only from his contemporaries, but from any horse in living memory, and perhaps in racing history. He is extraordinary on a regular basis. After Bob Beamon jumped 8.90m at the 1968 Olympics, he did not get beyond 8.22m in the remainder of his career. Frankel has done the business over and again.
He blew away the best of his generation in the 2,000 Guineas last spring, hammered Canford Cliffs, the best of the older horses, at Goodwood that summer, and finished four lengths clear in the QEII Stakes, the all-aged milers' championship race, in the autumn. This season has been better yet, with victories by five, 11, six and seven lengths, all recorded in Group One events, the highest grade the sport has to offer.
Win or lose on Saturday afternoon – and the betting, as ever, leans strongly towards a win – Frankel's status as one of racing's greatest champions is already secure. Timeform, a distinguished and independent publisher of racehorse ratings since the late 1940s, made up its mind in June, when Frankel won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot by 11 lengths. Only the finest horses record a Timeform rating above 140. Frankel has done so six times.
"We can all remember one brilliant individual performance, or even two or three in the case of Brigadier Gerard [in 1970-72] and maybe Abernant [between 1948 and 1950]," Jamie Lynch, Timeform's chief correspondent, says, "but not six, like Frankel. That is what sets him apart from any other horse in history.
"There are seven other individual horses that have run a rating in excess of 140 in our history. Four of those did it once, three did it more than once, but none have done it as many times as Frankel has.
"It's simple physics, really. His closest rivals are Sea Bird and Dancing Brave [winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1965 and 1986 respectively], who were best at a mile and a half. Frankel is beating his contemporaries by longer distances at a shorter trip, which takes more doing than it does for horses that weren't winning by so far, at the longer trip. "
There are other ways to measure Frankel in numbers, from the size of his winning streak to the 74.5 lengths that is the sum of his margins of victory, an average of nearly six lengths per race. He has won £2.25m in prize money for his owner, Prince Khalid Abdulla, who also owned Dancing Brave, with another £737,000 likely to be added to the total on Saturday . And there is the 22 feet that he covers with every stride at top speed, thanks to an elastic action that no opponent can match.
Consider, too, that the first prize for the Champion Stakes is around 15 times as much as one major bookmaker took on the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July in its nationwide estate of 1,600 betting shops. When Frankel raced Canford Cliffs in the same race in 2011, Coral's UK turnover was £500,000. This season, when Frankel was a 1-20 chance, it was just £50,000, or a little over £30 per shop. Racing is founded on speculation and chance, but Frankel has removed the uncertainty.
"He's just gone beyond betting, which is a reflection of his dominance on the track," David Stevens, a Coral spokesman, says. "In three of his races this summer [at Royal Ascot in June, Goodwood in July and York in August], punters were just not backing against this horse. They knew he was unbeatable, which is unheard of. Normally, there's always someone who thinks the favourite will get beaten.
"He's been a one-off, but for a successful horse, he's not one that has cost the bookies fortunes. It might sound trite when a bookmaker says it, but we really don't want him to be beaten on Saturday, for the sake of the sport, because it would be such an anticlimax. The coverage that he's been getting makes a real difference to racing's profile, and that helps to get people into betting shops too."
The numbers, though, are scarcely half the story. The punters and racegoers may see little point in putting their money on Frankel at such short odds, but their emotional investment in his success remains immense. Prince Abdulla has horses with eight different trainers in Great Britain, as well as other yards in France, Ireland and America, where Bobby Frankel, after whom the colt is named, trained the Prince's horses for decades. Abdulla chose to send him to Sir Henry Cecil, the most popular and successful British trainer of the past 40 years, and a man who is admired as much for his courage and resilience as for his undisputed brilliance with thoroughbreds.
In terms of his background, the blue-blooded Cecil had little in common with Bobby Frankel, a boy from the streets of Brooklyn who started his climb to the top of the sport as a punter at Aqueduct in New York. He died from cancer in November 2009, when the horse named for him was a yearling, and Cecil has been fighting the same disease for six years. It was diagnosed just as his training career was starting to emerge from what had seemed to be a hopeless decline, rooted in personal and professional setbacks including the loss of his twin brother to cancer and the breakup of his second marriage, which kept gossip columnists in copy for weeks.
Frankel has restored Cecil to pre-eminence in British racing, though Cecil has been typically modest when discussing his own significance in the story. This week, he paid credit to Shane Fetherstonhaugh, the work rider who has taught Frankel to channel his early exuberance into a ruthless running style, as he observed that "it could be said that Shane and I train Frankel together".
The real fascination, though, is that even Cecil does not seem to understand the extent of his genius, and what it is that he does so well. "Everything I do is by instinct," Cecil said recently. "I don't bother about form books and whether a horse beat me one length last time out if I'm running against it again. Well, I feel my horse has improved, and yours may have gone over the top, or was lucky, or at its best. I just do it by feeling, I don't do it by the book.
"If you actually study horses, their expressions and their mannerisms, then they tell you when they're not right or whether they're well or not.
"I used to ride three lots a day, walk with my horses everywhere, actually gallop with them, and when I had a lot of chemo I couldn't even open a bottle, let alone ride a horse. When I used to ride with horses, it was an advantage, because you could watch them and I'd be able to say 'that filly's coming into season', or 'that colt's not trotting quite as well as it should', so by the time I got to work the horses, I'd be able to change things around. Now, unfortunately I have to go out in the car, so I'm at a disadvantage. But horses do talk to you. Like people, you can see when they're well."
There is a sense of frailty and uncertainty in Cecil's words with which any of us can identify. His is the human story that allows Frankel to connect with the wider public, and it is as irresistible as Frankel's ground-devouring stride.
It will be difficult to let it go too, when the moment arrives on Saturday afternoon and Frankel walks into retirement, hopefully with his perfect winning record still intact. No one in the sell-out crowd of nearly 33,000 at Ascot will expect to see another one like him, even when his sons and daughters start to appear on the track in four years' time.
A freak like Frankel is once in a lifetime, and the concentration of genes for speed, strength, athleticism and more that makes him what he is will be slowly diluted over the generations. His name, though, will endure since the final race of Frankel's career does not mark the end of the story, but the start of a new chapter. He will be inked into the pedigrees of thoroughbreds for as long as there is racing. And if it will dispel any sadness as Frankel retires consider this.
One day far in the future, after all those who will watch his final race at Ascot are gone, a horse may win a Classic at Epsom or maybe Newmarket, and someone in the grandstand will trace through its pedigree, come upon the name of Frankel and think to themselves: "Ah, the mighty Frankel. Now there's a horse I'd have loved to see racing."
Frankel: farewell to the greatest racehorse in historyGreg Wood Friday 19 October 2012 The Guardian guardian.co.ukAs Henry Cecil's unbeaten wonderhorse races for probably the final time in Ascot's Champion Stakes on Saturday, racing insiders explain
Frankel: farewell to the greatest racehorse in history
A horse thats been campaigned the way he has been-the greatest ever??
Sorry,that cannot be clamed with any substance.
Not Frankels fault,and he may be the greatest ever,but hes not ran in the races that could enable him to be compared to greats of the past.
Frankel: farewell to the greatest racehorse in historyA horse thats been campaigned the way he has been-the greatest ever??Sorry,that cannot be clamed with any substance.Not Frankels fault,and he may be the greatest ever,but hes not ran in the races
probably best to just savour the memorys of frankel and be thankfull that we have had the privalge to witness an undoughtably great horse . for me the guineas anhialation of the field left me open mouthed from start to finish ! and i dont think i will see another performance like that again ,to be fair even if he had been campaigned and victorius in all the top races this season, i.e arc and even at the breeders cup ect ,it still cannot prove that he is or is not the greatest off all time . a bit like saying messi is better than pele or maradona ,it cannot be proved one way or another .
probably best to just savour the memorys of frankel and be thankfull that we have had the privalge to witness an undoughtably great horse . for me the guineas anhialation of the field left me open mouthed from start to finish ! and i dont think i wil
FRANKEL (GB) FACTFILE 4 b c Galileo (IRE) - Kind (IRE) (Danehill (USA))
Form: 1111/11111-11111 Owner: Khalid Abdulla Trainer: Sir Henry Cecil
Jockey: Tom Queally Breeder: Juddmonte Farms Ltd Born: February 11, 2008
In 14 racecourse appearances, the unbeaten Frankel has more than proved a fitting tribute to the legendary US trainer Bobby Frankel, who provided owner/breeder Khalid Abdulla with a host of big-race victories in America until his death from cancer at the age of 68 in November, 2009. The home-bred son of Galileo is a three-parts brother to 2010 Lingfield Derby Trial winner Bullet Train, a five-year-old who acts as his pacemaker these days, and a full-brother to three-year-old Noble Mission, winner of the Group Three Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2012. Frankel made an eye-catching winning debut when readily scoring in a mile maiden on Newmarket's July Course on August 13, 2010, as he beat subsequent dual Group One victor Nathaniel by half a length. He built on that promising start when quickening clear of two rivals for a bloodless 13-length victory in a seven-furlong conditions race at Doncaster's St Leger meeting on September 10 that year. The manner of his win saw Frankel propelled towards the head of the ante-post markets for both the 2011 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby and he showed himself as a juvenile of uncommon ability with a stunning success in the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at Ascot on September 25. 2010. Not content with the sedate pace, Tom Queally took up the running entering the straight and Frankel accelerated away from the field with ease to gain an almost effortless 10-length triumph over Klammer. His trainer then suggested that Frankel was the finest juvenile to have passed through his hands since Wollow in 1975 (who subsequently went on to win the 2,000 Guineas). Frankel's final start of 2010 came at Newmarket on October 16 in the Group One Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. A strong line-up for the prestigious seven-furlong event also included dual Group One winner Dream Ahead and impressive Group Two victor Saamidd. Held up at the rear of the field, Frankel began to make smooth progress with three furlongs remaining and led before the furlong pole, defeating Roderic O'Connor by two and a quarter lengths in good style. The runner-up strongly endorsed the form when winning a Group One in France afterwards. Frankel was the joint champion two-year-old in Europe on official ratings with Dream Ahead - rated 126 as well as being named the Two-Year-Old Colt of 2010 at the Cartier Racing Awards. Frankel reappeared in 2011 in the seven-furlong Group Three Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 16, when he went to the front passing the three-furlong marker to record a comfortable four-length success over subsequent French Group One winner Excelebration. He started the shortest-priced favourite in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket since Apalachee, third at 4/9 in 1974, going off at ½. He galloped his opponents into submission in the mile Classic and was over 10 lengths clear before halfway, winning most impressively by six lengths from Dubawi Gold with the field strung out. After this truly stunning performance, he headed to Royal Ascot for the Group One St James's Palace Stakes, also over a mile, on June 14 and extended his unbeaten run. But the victory was not delivered in the manner expected by his legion of admirers. Queally sent the colt to the lead with well over three furlongs remaining and Frankel was six lengths clear with a quarter of a mile to run. After such an explosive mid-race burst however, his momentum decreased markedly inside the final furlong, allowing the fast closing Zoffany to get within three quarters of a length at the line. Frankel took on older rivals for the first time in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 27 last year, with his main opposition set to come from five-time Group One winner Canford Cliffs in a race billed as the 'Duel on the Downs'. In reality the mile contest looked distinctly one-sided as Frankel made the running before powering clear for an imperious five-length success. Connections briefly toyed with the idea of stepping Frankel up to a mile and a quarter for either the Juddmonte International or the QIPCO British Champions Stakes, deciding on the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, October 15, when he cruised to a four-length victory over Excelebration. The World Thoroughbred Rankings for 2011 handed Frankel a rating of 136, 4lb clear of the outstanding Australian sprinter Black Caviar, making him officially the best horse in the world. He was Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt in 2011. He began the current season at Newbury on May 19, when he sauntered to a facile five-length victory over his old rival Excelebration in the Group One JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury over a mile. Despite that deficit being the biggest in four meetings with Excelebration, Sir Henry Cecil was expecting a sharper performance at Royal Ascot and the four-year-old did not disappoint. Frankel faced 10 rivals including Excelebration in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile - the opening race of the meeting - and produced a performance of the very highest quality, routing the field for an emphatic 11-length victory. In the aftermath of the performance, Timeform gave Frankel a rating of 147, the highest in the organisation's 64-year history, while the British Horseracing Authority increased Frankel's rating to 140, 1lb behind Khalid Abdulla's outstanding 1986 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Dancing Brave. He achieved another first when capturing his second QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood by six lengths on August 1. Frankel ran beyond a mile for the first time when contesting the Group One Juddmonte International over an extended 10 furlongs at York on August 22. The nine-strong field included a host of top-class performers including St Nicholas Abbey, Farhh and Twice Over, but Frankel treated them with complete disdain, cruising into the lead two furlongs out before striding clear for a seven-length victory. The ease of his success persuaded connections to contemplate the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over an extra furlong and a half but Khalid Abdulla's racing manager, Lord Grimthorpe, confirmed, after a period of consideration, that Frankel's target was today's QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot which he won in good style today. The 10-furlong showpiece was Frankel's final race before a career at stud. Frankel has started favourite in all his races and, bar his debut, went off at odds-on. Tom Queally has ridden Frankel every time he has run. Race Record: Starts: 14; 1st: 14 2nd:-; 3rd:-; Win & Place Prize Money: £2,998,302
Prince Khalid Abdulla(h), who prefers to be known as plain Mr K Abdulla on the racecard, is a first cousin to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He owns extensive racing and breeding interests in America, Britain, France and Ireland. He is a semi-retired businessman who, along with his four sons, presides over a huge conglomerate, the Mawarid Group, in Saudi Arabia and beyond. He developed a love for British racing during the 1960s when renting a house in London and, with the help of former trainer Humphrey Cottrill, had his first winner on May 14, 1979, when the Jeremy Tree-trained Charming Native scored at Windsor. Born in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in 1937, Abdulla has been one of the most successful owner-breeders in Europe over the past four decades and is the only current owner to have owned and bred the winners of all five British Classics. The first British Classic success came when Known Fact was awarded the 1980 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas on the disqualification of Nureyev. He has won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas thrice more, thanks to Dancing Brave (1986), Zafonic (1993) and Frankel (2011) who promises to be best of them all, while in 1990 Quest For Fame gave him an initial Investec Derby triumph, followed by Commander In Chief in 1993 and Workforce in 2010. His only Ladbrokes St Leger victory came with the Andre Fabre-trained Toulon in 1991. Abdulla also races with great success in France, Ireland and the United States, where under the Juddmonte Farms banner he won a Triple Crown race in 2003 with Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes. In 2003, Abdulla became champion owner in both Britain (78 winners) and France (58 winners), while he also finished third in the USA owners' championship. The full-sisters out of Hasili, Banks Hill (2001) and Intercontinental (2005), gave Abdulla a notable pair of victories in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, a race he also annexed in 2009 with three-time Nassau Stakes (2009, 2010 & 2011) winner Midday. Hasili also produced the owner's dual Grade One winning mare Heat Haze, trained by the late Bobby Frankel. 2010 was a superb year and Abdulla finished it as champion owner in Britain (74 winners & prize money of over £3 million) for the second time, while Juddmonte was crowned the top breeder once again. Workforce won both the Investec Derby and Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in great style, while the unbeaten Frankel was crowned joint-champion European juvenile after victory in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. Special Duty also won two 2010 Classics in the stewards' room. In the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, she was promoted to first ahead of Jacqueline Quest after finishing a nose second and in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, the filly was awarded first place after coming home the head runner-up to Liliside. Abdulla's other 1,000 Guineas win came with Wince in 1999. Twice Over has also been a leading light over the past few seasons, taking the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2009 and 2010 as well as the 2010 Coral-Eclipse and 2011 Juddmonte International. Frankel is probably Abdulla's greatest horse and remains unbeaten in 14 races, 10 of which have come at Group One level, including the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, St James's Palace Stakes, QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 & 2012), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, the Queen Anne Stakes, the Juddmonte International and the QIPCO Champion Stakes. Frankel's exploits last year played a large part in Abdulla winning another owners' championship in Britain in 2011 (63 wins and over £3.4 million in prize money). The owner's Juddmonte breeding operation has nine properties in England, Ireland and Kentucky, including the 373-acre Banstead Manor Stud just outside Newmarket and the 2,500-acre Juddmonte Farms south of Lexington. Juddmonte Farms stand 10 stallions, including Oasis Dream and Dansili, as well as outstanding broodmares in Britain and the US including Hasili, Toussaud and Slightly Dangerous. Abdulla is an honorary member of the British Jockey Club and his daughter was married to the late Prince Fahd Salman, owner of 1991 Derby victor Generous. His notable horses have included the great Dancing Brave, narrowly beaten in the 1986 Derby but successful in the 2,000 Guineas, Eclipse, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Rainbow Quest, Warning, Danehill, Reams Of Verse, Rail Link, Zafonic, Oasis Dream, Chester House, Observatory, Xaar, All At Sea, Commander In Chief, Sanglamore, Ryafan, Exbourne, Marquetry, Raintrap, Sun Shack, Aptitude, Senure, Tates Creek, Cacique, Ventura and Proviso. Abdulla has over 300 broodmares and a similar number of horses in training. Lord Grimthorpe is his racing manager in Europe and Dr John Chandler oversees his US interests. He has won 10 Eclipse Awards in America as well as plenty of Cartier Racing Awards in Europe including the Award of Merit in 2002.
Sir Henry Cecil
Sir Henry Cecil, who was awarded a knighthood for services to racing in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours List, has been Britain's champion trainer 10 times and is master of Warren Place Stables in Newmarket. Since taking out a licence in 1969, he has compiled a record of success that ranks him among the pantheon of training legends. He has won 36 European Classics, including 25 in Britain, collected over 400 Pattern successes and saddled well over 3,000 individual winners. He is also the most successful trainer at Royal Ascot, having won 75 races at the meeting. Henry Richard Amherst Cecil was born in Aberdeen on January 11, 1943, 10 minutes before his twin brother David, with whom he enjoyed a close bond. His father, Captain Henry Cecil of the Welsh Guards, brother of the third Baron Amherst of Hackney, was killed in action in North Africa some two weeks prior to the birth. Henry's widowed mother Rohays subsequently married royal trainer Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort and moved her brood of four boys to Freemason Lodge from the family farm near Newmarket. His formative years at Freemason Lodge stables, along with his brothers Bow, James, David and later Arthur, infused a desire to pursue a life in racing. This was undoubtedly detrimental to any potential academic distractions that may have robbed the sport of one of its most intuitive talents. In his book, On The Level, published in 1983, Cecil recalls at the age of seven being sent to prep school at Sunningdale where, with his twin David, he "went straight to the bottom form and stayed there". He failed to get into Eton and spent the remainder of his school life at Canford School in Dorset, which he left with 10 O-Levels, before embarking on a high-spirited year at Cirencester's Royal Agricultural College, where he and David "studied drinking and gambling", before leaving without sitting any exams. Henry was destined for a career in stud management until accepting the role of assistant to his step-father in 1964. Two years later he married Julie Murless, daughter of the great trainer Sir Noel Murless. Boyd-Rochfort, the man he called Uncle Cecil, retired at the end of the 1968 Flat season, at which point Henry took over the reins at Freemason Lodge. He did not exactly hit the ground running and it was two months before he sighted the winner's enclosure. His initial victory as a licensed trainer came on May 17, 1969, when Celestial Cloud was the short-head winner of an amateur riders' event at Ripon. That success came after a piece of anxious advice from his then father-in-law. After watching the Cecil string work, Sir Noel Murless, never one to interfere, awkwardly declared: "Your horses are galloping like a lot of old gentlemen. You must make them work." Henry gratefully heeded the advice and big-race glory soon followed with Wolver Hollow in the 1969 Eclipse. A move to Marriott Stables brought his first European Classic, courtesy of Cloonagh in the 1973 Irish 1,000 Guineas. Bolkonski's win in the 1975 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket set the ball rolling in Britain. Wollow's 2,000 Guineas victory a year later came in his first season training at Warren Place, formerly the yard of his father-in-law, and heralded an era of success that has etched his name indelibly in the annals of racing greatness. As the 1980s dawned, the Henry Cecil legend took shape. Supported by wife Julie, head man Paddy Rudkin, travelling head man George Winsor and others, he reigned supreme. He ended the 1979 season as champion trainer with a 20th century record of 128 wins to his name. That was his third title in four seasons, in a year that saw One In A Million land the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and Le Moss and Kris emerge as champions. The following decade brought five more training titles, while eight individual British Classic winners, including the Derby heroes Slip Anchor (1985) and Reference Point (1987), and the brilliant fillies' Triple Crown scorer Oh So Sharp (1985), were complemented by champions such as Ardross, Diesis, Indian Skimmer and Old Vic. In 1985, the year of Slip Anchor and Oh So Sharp, Henry became the first trainer in history to pass the £1-million mark in prize money. The 1987 season brought an even more phenomenal feat as Warren Place runners captured 180 races, smashing John Day's 1867 record of 146. Success continued throughout the next decade with a further clutch of Classic triumphs including four Oaks wins in five years with Lady Carla (1996), Reams Of Verse (1997), Ramruma (1999) and Love Divine (2000). He produced the brilliant Bosra Sham to be champion filly, nursing her fragile feet with the patience and care with which he is renowned, while enjoying two further successes in the Derby with Commander In Chief (1993) and Oath (1999). The latter's owner, the late Prince Ahmed Salman, summed up the feeling of many after Oath's triumph when he said, "winning Classics is easy. You just buy a horse and send it to Henry Cecil". The years have seen many of his owner-breeders pass away, while the loss of Sheikh Mohammed's patronage in 1995 was an undoubted blow. The numbers housed at Warren Place fell dramatically from a peak of near 200, so that by midway through the decade 2000 to 2010 Cecil was no longer seen as a force in the contests that mattered. Owners deserted him, though notably Khalid Abdulla and the Niarchos Family remained loyal. The family standard, run up the flag pole after each Group One win, gathered dust for over six years after Beat Hollow's Grand Prix de Paris win in 2000. In 2006, however, a corner was turned as Multidimensional gave Cecil his first Pattern success in four years. October of that year marked a return to the top table as the Khalid Abdulla-owned Passage Of Time captured the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Classic success made a welcome return to Warren Place in 2007 when Light Shift, owned by the Niarchos Family, clinched an emotional success in the Investec Oaks under Ted Durcan, while Midday went close to handing the stable a ninth victory in the premier fillies' Classic when a close runner-up to Sariska in 2009. The Khalid Abdulla-owned filly subsequently proved a bona fide superstar, with an unprecedented three victories in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in 2009, 2010 and 2011 as well as the Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille in 2010. She also provided Cecil with a first success at the Breeders' Cup when landing the 2009 Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Twice Over has also been a standard bearer for Warren Place over the past few seasons, taking the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2009 and 2010 as well as the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in 2010 and York's Juddmonte International in 2011. The unbeaten Frankel is the latest superstar on the block, having won 14 races, 10 of which have come at Group One level (the Dewhurst Stakes, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the St James' Palace Stakes, the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 & 2012), the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, the JLT Lockinge Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes, the Juddmonte International and the QIPCO Champion Stakes). He is rated the top horse in the world and Cecil believes he is the best he has ever trained and the best horse ever. As well as housing equine superstars, Warren Place was also the haunt of champion jockeys, with Joe Mercer, Lester Piggott, Steve Cauthen, Pat Eddery and later Kieren Fallon each doing their bit and enjoying the spoils of the master trainer's meticulously-planned campaigns. Nowadays, the talented young Irishman Tom Queally is the jockey proving his worth atop Cecil-trained contenders. The record books do not lie and Cecil rewrote them as he cultivated and nurtured a string of champions. He is a trainer of great flair - a gifted horseman with an exceptional ability in assessing a horse, and possesses a rare instinctive genius that enables him to appreciate potential far earlier than most. He is also the focus of great fascination, particularly among the media - a champion trainer with a penchant for gardening and fine clothes. He has fought cancer over the last few years and married Jane McKeown, his third wife, in 2008.
Tom Queally, born on October 8, 1984, has come a long way since riding his first winner on the John Roche-trained Larifaari at Clonmel on April 13, 2000, when 15. He was crowned Ireland's champion apprentice the same season. From Dungarvan in County Waterford, where his father Declan combines farming with a small training operation, Queally was out hunting on his pony by the age of seven. After a spell showjumping, he was a leading figure on the pony racing circuit by the age of 13 and was apprenticed to trainer Pat Flynn two years later. The apprenticeship was terminated when Queally's parents insisted he finish his leaving certificate at school. At the end of a quiet 2002, when apprenticed to his father, he moved to Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle, winning the following year's Group Three Ballysax Stakes on Balestrini. With the help of owner/trainer Barney Curley, he moved to Britain in 2004 and joined David Loder's Newmarket stable, becoming British champion apprentice that year. He won the 2008 Group Three Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom aboard Lady Gloria and is now attached to Sir Henry Cecil's Warren Place stable. Since his move to Cecil's yard, he has recorded significant victories on Midday, who finished runner-up in the 2009 Investec Oaks before going on to claim the Group One Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (2009, 2010 and 2011), the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (2010), Qatar Prix Vermeille (2010) and the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (2009). Twice Over has given him success in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (2009 and 2010), and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (2010). Queally gained his first Group One success in Ireland when Chachamaidee was awarded the 2012 Matron Stakes in the stewards' room after she was hampered in the closing stages. In 2009, he also won two Group One sprints, partnering the Michael Bell-trained Art Connoisseur in Royal Ascot's Golden Jubilee Stakes (Queally's first top level win) and Fleeting Spirit, trained by Jeremy Noseda, in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. He has partnered the world's highest-rated horse Frankel on all the colt's 14 appearances, including Group One wins in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (2010), QIPCO 2,000 Guineas (2011), St James's Palace Stakes (2011), QIPCO Sussex Stakes (2011 & 2012), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) (2011), JLT Lockinge Stakes (2012), Queen Anne Stakes (2012), Juddmonte International (2012) and QIPCO Champion Stakes
Racenews@RacenewsServiceFRANKEL FACTFILE #BCD http://conta.cc/T7pkkJ FRANKEL (GB) FACTFILE4 b c Galileo (IRE) - Kind (IRE) (Danehill (USA))Form: 1111/11111-11111 Owner: Khalid Abdulla Trainer: Sir Henry CecilJockey: Tom Queally Breeder: Juddmonte
Not sure what point you are making with all that to be honest.
Well,yesterday showed me that Frankel would have stayed 1m4,so makes his gutless(imo)campaigning even more frustrating. To me he could have won Arcs,King Georges,Derbys,BC Classics etc etc
So Frankel unfortunately CANNOT go down as the greatest ever,and its a shame for him,because for all we know he may be,just cannot be proved.
Not sure what point you are making with all that to be honest.Well,yesterday showed me that Frankel would have stayed 1m4,so makes his gutless(imo)campaigning even more frustrating.To me he could have won Arcs,King Georges,Derbys,BC Classics etc etcS
Whilst I too have been frustrated by his campaign ( gutless imo is too harsh )are you saying that the greatest horse has to have won a race over 12F? That to my mind is non-sensical.
Whilst I think it impossible with any certainty to declare the greatest horse of all time, yesterday's racing proved Frankel to be truly one of the all time greats.
Firstly he won his race against two proven, top class Group 1 winners who were running on their preferred ground. Whilst he didn't win as far as perhaps some would have wanted, the way he cruised by them both without being asked a question proved his complete superiority.
Secondly was the win of Excelebration. I was on the rail for that race, and whilst it wasn't the strongest renewal, you got a real sense of his excelleration which on that ground was quite startling. We all know how far Frankel continually beat him, it simply makes it clear how brilliant a performance Frankel put up in the Queen Anne - much as I wanted him to run in the POW.
Whilst I too have been frustrated by his campaign ( gutless imo is too harsh )are you saying that the greatest horse has to have won a race over 12F? That to my mind is non-sensical.Whilst I think it impossible with any certainty to declare the great
Nope that is not what i am saying roobuck. What i mean is that imo the best horses of all time are horses that have won top races from a mile up to a mile 4,in other countries against he best around,and to be considered better than those than Frankel has to have done similar.
Frankel has won 2 races at 10f the rest at a mile or less,so therefore cannot imo be the greatest ever. To have that accolade imo the CV should include the greatest races. Those are Derbys,King Georges,Arcs and Breeders Cups. Had he followed up his Guineas triumph with a few of those type of races,we may be talking about him being the best ever,with some sort of substance.
Nope that is not what i am saying roobuck.What i mean is that imo the best horses of all time are horses that have won top races from a mile up to a mile 4,in other countries against he best around,and to be considered better than those than Frankel
With respect, that is your opinion buddeliea as you mention 12F races ( greatest ones ) that need to be on the cv.
Whilst I agree the lack of range of distances makes it difficult to say Frankel the greatest ever, imo if he had won a top sprint or two like the July Cup in the way he won his other races, he could have laid claim to that.
With respect, that is your opinion buddeliea as you mention 12F races ( greatest ones ) that need to be on the cv. Whilst I agree the lack of range of distances makes it difficult to say Frankel the greatest ever, imo if he had won a top sprint or tw
Poor old Buddeliea!! This must REALLY pain you. You have been drumming your anti-Frankel drum for so long. Unfortunately for you no one can hear it now.
If I were you I would avoid newspapers, racing programmes and forums for a while. I think The Greatest will be talked about for a little while yet.
Poor old Buddeliea!! This must REALLY pain you. You have been drumming your anti-Frankel drum for so long. Unfortunately for you no one can hear it now. If I were you I would avoid newspapers, racing programmes and forums for a while. I think The Gre
Well that means you are against an overwhelming majority my friend. And that includes some of the oldest, wisest, been there and seen it all heads in racing.
Come on. Really it is not rocket science is it?! Anyone with eyes can see it.
Well that means you are against an overwhelming majority my friend. And that includes some of the oldest, wisest, been there and seen it all heads in racing. Come on. Really it is not rocket science is it?! Anyone with eyes can see it.
Their is no proof that Frankel is better than greats of the past,none at all. So when someone says hes the greatest,they are guessing my friend. I dont care who says it,they are opinions-fair enough,but none of them can say for sure.
That has been my point all along. Nowt to do with an anti frankel thing.
Their is no proof that Frankel is better than greats of the past,none at all.So when someone says hes the greatest,they are guessing my friend.I dont care who says it,they are opinions-fair enough,but none of them can say for sure.That has been my po
By the same token surely you cant say that he wasnt - though this is precisely what you do say. You cite the fact that he didn't win mile and a half races as your reason yet he wasn't a mile and a half horse! Race titles mean nothing anyway. Would you have been happier if he had beaten Main Sequence? Or Treasure Beech? (well he did actually but only by 11 lengths), Nathaniel? (oops)You know that it is a silly argument and no one who knows the sport properly would use it.
You say you are not anti-Frankel but then call his campaign "gutless" sounds rather anti to me my friend.
I would have more respect for you if you actually admitted that you got it wrong all along. You thought he'd get beat but he didn't. You under-rated him. Nothing wrong with that although how you could have missed it is beyond me.
Listen nobody will ever be able to scientifically prove that he was the best - we are not idiots we ALL know that. Just like nobody could ever prove Ali was the greatest boxer, Bradman the greatest cricketer or Federer the greatest tennin player. But we all know don't we? Even you deep down know it. That is why you are on here the very day after the masterpiece is completed. The lady doth protest too much my friend.
You HAVE never and WILL never see another horse like it. You know it, I know it, the world knows it. Adieu, amen as Alistair said.
By the same token surely you cant say that he wasnt - though this is precisely what you do say. You cite the fact that he didn't win mile and a half races as your reason yet he wasn't a mile and a half horse! Race titles mean nothing anyway. Would yo
Gutless comment was aimed at connections,in reference to his campaign.
I have never said he would get beat in any of his races as far as i can remember.
I have rated him as i see him -the best around now and one of the best i have seen.
The reason i cite mile and half races,is cos he was being hailed as the greatest horse ever,and to be that he has to be compared to the best ever,and all those won at distances from a mile to mile 4,inc Arcs and King Georges and Derbys. Thats why imo he cannot be the best ever,or hailed it,even though he may be. His campaign imo dont allow that.
If you or anyone else can give me proof hes the best ever,i welcome it. I would have no problem with that.
Your last sentence is simply opinion,and unless you have a crystal ball,you have no way of knowing what horses i shall see in the future.
So anyway,no,i dont know it,and as far as i am concerned,nor does anyone else.
Gutless comment was aimed at connections,in reference to his campaign.I have never said he would get beat in any of his races as far as i can remember.I have rated him as i see him -the best around now and one of the best i have seen.The reason i cit
I have been watching racing since early 80's and Frankel is the best horse I have seen in that time.
My first racing memory was playing pool in a pub with my dad in Arbroath during my school holidays at the tender age of 11, and watching what turned out to be a horse called Vacarme winning the Richmond at Goodwood in 1983, with Piggott on board. Remember being mesmerised at the sight of the jockey sitting still on the horse waiting for a gap and then sitting even quieter still on the rails when edging in front inside the last furlong. From then on I took more than a passing interest in horse racing and the Cecil stable in particular through my teens and beyond.
I remember during my secondary school years sneeking into my bedroom and reading the racing pages of the Daily Record to see what he had running that day. Mum frowned on me taking an interest in horse racing, god knows my dad gambled enough for the household without me going down that same path. But it wasn't the betting that caught my interest initially, it was the sport itself so she had nothing to fear. I was hooked and watched racing at every opportunity I could.
The 80's and 90's were a great time for the stable and classic success occurred almost yearly. You started to take it for granted. Slip Anchor, Oh So Sharp, Reference Point, Indian Skimmer, Diminuendo, Old Vic, Michelozzo (only Classic I have ever attended), Commander in Chief, Bosra Sham, Reams of Verse and others. Funnily enough I probably got just as big a kick from watching his unraced two year olds with their huge reputations from the gallops reports in the Sporting Life, winning easily on their debuts. Never did back them though, that would have scuppered their chances.
Then it all started to crumble. Having been at the top for so many years it was painful watching the demise of the man, in sporting terms, at the turn of the century and for a number of years thereafter. There was no way back was there? It looked as if retirement was inevitable, only a matter of time. And you know what rankled? Despite having so many really good horses over the years it seemed that HRAC would never have a legendary horse to remember him by. Some great champions yes, but no real true legends of the turf. Until Frankel.
Carefully nurtured through his 2 year old campaign, I always got the impression that they knew this animal was going to be special and were patiently teaching him to settle. Gradually upped in grade and looking better and better with each run. A lot of things went wrong in the Dewhurst but he still had enough class to win. Horses don't pull hard in a Group 1, as he did for the first few furlongs, and still finish their races off.
The Greenham blew away the cobwebs and the Guineas was just a stunning performance. I must admit though I was worried the horse had simply taken control and TPQ had become a passenger, no way could he keep up the gallop. But he did and the rest as they say is history. The rest of the season was great although to be honest I was disappointed they didn't go to the Juddmonte International after the Sussex in 2011. By that stage most of us suspected he would stay further than a mile, the 3 week turnaround shouldn't have been a problem; perhaps it was the added disappointment of having to wait another 3 months to see him again. In my view, he was workmanlike (!!) in the QE II without being brilliant....were we now expecting too much? Or was he showing that he had had enough for the season? A couple of observations; I don't think his performances in October were as good as earlier in the season in 2010/11/12. And 3 out of his 4 best performances visually, other than the Queen Anne, came on the back of reappearing on the track after a quick turnaround of two and three weeks from his previous run.....Royal Lodge, 2000 Guineas and Juddmonte International.
He was even better at 4 though and I think connections should be applauded for keeping him in training. There are those who continue to complain he wasn't stretched, his campaign was limited and could have ran abroad for example. I never viewed him as a 1m 4f horse, and I still don't, so whilst I can empathise with some of those frustrations, I am struggling to think where else he could have went? We got two of the best performances from a horse in many a year in June at Royal Ascot and in August at York. The Eclipse isn't the race it used to be and the Irish Champion is on a par with our Champion Stakes so where else? He was never going to run on dirt so the Breeders Cup wasn't a target either.
We were lucky to witness the monster for 3 full seasons, each one better than the previous year. He was trained masterfully, by a master of his profession. The development of the horse was visible and a credit to his trainer. Others may disagree, and are entitled to their opinion, but I have no problems with the way he was campaigned by and large (ex-Juddmonte 2011). And from a personal point of view it is fantastic that, finally, HRAC will have a fitting tribute to his training skills over the last 40 years with a horse of a lifetime for many of us.
I have been watching racing since early 80's and Frankel is the best horse I have seen in that time.My first racing memory was playing pool in a pub with my dad in Arbroath during my school holidays at the tender age of 11, and watching what turned o
I empathise with so much of that. As a child of the 80's I too grew up watching the great Cecil horses. Kris was the horse that got me hooked on racing. His fall from the top of the tree was agonizing to watch. His subsequent ascent from obscurity one of the great sporting comebacks. I was at Epsom and wept like a baby when Light Shift won her Oaks.
I saw Frankel 9 times and he simply blew me away each time. In 40 years of watching racing I have seen nothing to even come close to him.
But it is when you read or hear the likes of Andre Fabre, Aiden O' Brien, Sir Michael Stoute and Pat Eddery, all men associated with great horses and all legends in their field, say that THEY have never seen better that you sit up and start to take notice. That is when you realise that you are not mad. That your own eyes have not deceived you.
But as many have said this week it is not just the bare facts and figures that make this horse stand out (although they bear the closest scrutiny) it is the emotion and depth of feeling that he was able to conjure up in the thousands and thousands who flocked to see him. The atmosphere at York and Ascot was unlike anything I have ever witnessed at a flat meeting. People loved this horse. Kids loved him, grown ups loved him, even my wife who hates racing loved him!
Whne Buddilea says we cannot scientifically prove he was the greatest he is of course correct. Something like that will always be subjective and if people don't rate him after what he did they never would no matter how many times he ran or in what country. What satisifes me is how many people share my opinion. There will always be doubters, contrary opinions, that is the way of the world and I respect that, but I know what I saw.
Frankel is an all time great who will be talked about long after we are all dead. My 3 year old twins who came with me on Saturday will make sure of that I can tell you!!!
What a superb post PFT. I empathise with so much of that. As a child of the 80's I too grew up watching the great Cecil horses. Kris was the horse that got me hooked on racing. His fall from the top of the tree was agonizing to watch. His subsequent