Turf Talk: Expect Frankel to Bolt up and equal the Rock’s Group One record
Just as, for many people, the Olympics will come down to Usain Bolt, so this week’s Glorious Goodwood will be about one race and one horse, Wednesday’s Qipco Sussex Stakes and Frankel.
Well, he is the world’s best racehorse and as I have already admitted, the finest performer I have ever seen on a raceourse. It used to be Dancing Brave who was my top choice, though for reasons not unconnected with the fact that I wrote a book about him, Rock of Gibraltar was the best racing horse I ever saw.
Note the distinction – Dancing Brave was just beautiful, a sublime mover of an animal who was so gorgeous you wanted to kiss him, though I contented myself with a wee pat on his back after he won the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in 1986.
The Rock was a good looking colt, too, but he impressed me as the complete racer. As a miler, he had it all – stamina, acceleration and the sheer will to win. He just did not want to be beaten, and I still maintain that, if his regular jockey Mick Kinane had wanted him to, Rock of Gibraltar could have won the 2002 Sussex Stakes by ten lengths. If you don’t believe me, watch the race on YouTube and look how Kinane toys with the rest of a high-class field, looking between his legs for danger more than two furlongs out.
In this latest renewal of the Sussex, Frankel will be out to equal the Rock’s world record of seven successive Group or Grade One race wins by a colt. The mighty American mare Zenyatta has since won nine Grade One races in a row, but the Rock’s record still stands for a colt. Or at least it will until Wednesday when Frankel will equal it. After his astonishing performance in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, no other result is possible.
It will be Frankel’s 12th win in an unbeaten career that stretches back to 13 August, 2010, which was also the last time he started odds against. His opponents are praying for rain on Wednesday to slow Frankel up – they needn’t bother as that debut race at Newmarket was won on soft going.
Nothing short of a quagmire will stop Frankel winning for jockey Tom Queally, trainer Sir Henry Cecil and owner Khalid Abdulla, whose decision to keep the superstar in training has been richly rewarded.
Don’t bother betting as he is 1-10 at best. Just watch in wonder.
When Frankel passes the post at Goodwood in front, I will tip a figurative hat to my old chum across the water at Coolmore Stud and say “look what they had to produce to equal your record”, and I’ll think of Dancing Brave, Rock of Gibraltar and now Frankel as best of all.
On Thursday, the Artemis Goodwood Cup looks nailed on for Ascot Gold Cup winner Colour Vision, while Mark Johnston’s Es Que Love is an each-way choice for Saturday’s Stewards Cup.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
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Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
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