Just four more races likely for ‘awesome’ Frankel
Frankel – heavily backed at long odds-on into a wafer thin starting price of 1-10 – somehow managed to get even better than his world-class best to date, when he opened Royal Acot 2012 with a breathtaking triumph in the Queen Anne Stakes.
The world’s top racehorse has added another level of finesse to his formidable array of talents as he drew a staggering 11 lengths clear of Excelebration, taking his career record to 11 wins out of 11. Only once, on his second start in a three-runner conditions race at Doncaster, has Frankel accumulated a greater winning distance.
He settled perfectly for jockey Tom Queally close to the head of the field as they progressed down the straight mile, shadowed by second favourite Excelebration, a rival he had defeated four times before, most recently by five lengths in last month’s Lockinge Stakes.
Perhaps in his own way imploring trainer Sir Henry Cecil and owner Prince Khalid Abdullah to provide different or more challenging opposition, Frankel handed Excelebration his fifth and most conclusive beating as he changed gears with two furlongs remaining and left his old sparring partner wondering where he had gone.
Cecil suggested he will have four more starts before retirement beckons. He said: “It’s a relief. Things need to go right and no horse is a certainty. He is a great, great horse and you needn’t ask me about him – you have seen him for yourselves so everyone can form their own opinions. I prepared him as well as I could and he couldn’t have done any more, so you be the judges. He did exactly what I thought he would but he is still improving and Tom said he is getting better.”
Quite where those next starts will be is up in the air. Cecil, who reported a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup to be “unlikely”, said: “He looks as though he is going to stay a mile and a quarter and we’ll leave our options open. He’s in the Eclipse, the Sussex, the Juddmonte – which is important – and he will be in the two races here at the end of the year. He could have three more races at the end of the year or he could have four. He’ll tell me.”
Queally added: “It looks like he’s improving. He settled, he travelled, he got everything else off the bridle when I was still sitting there – he’s amazing. That’s his best performance. It’s just a demolition again – he was awesome.”
Of the cowed Excelebration, trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “We were delighted with our horse but Frankel is unbelievable. We’ll look at the entries we’ve made, see how he is and then have a talk about it.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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