Handicapper certain Frankel can improve

Dominic Gardiner-Hill believes Frankel is capable of taking his rating to even more astonishing levels after the British Horseracing Authority’s handicapper allotted the colt a mark of 138 for his victory in Saturday’s JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The decision to raise him 2lb from last season’s 136 makes Frankel officially the highest-rated horse in the world for 25 years. Prince Khalid Abdullah’s unbeaten and ten-time winner can only be trumped by the same owner’s Dancing Brave (141 in 1986), although the World Thoroughbred Rankings scale has been lowered slightly since that time.

Frankel leaves behind Peintre Celebre and Generous on 137 and Sea The Stars on 136.

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Gardiner-Hill was no different to the entire racing community in being impressed by Frankel’s fourth and most clear-cut defeat of Excelebration as the son of Galileo brushed off any fears over a slightly interrupted preparation.

“I do think he can go higher,” said the handicapper. “I watched the Lockinge again today and, to be honest, he did it very easily. To go higher he is going to have to beat something other than Excelebration, whether it is going to be a horse like Cirrus Des Aigles, we will have to wait and see. I do suspect he can be a 140-horse. It just depends if he gets the opportunity.”

lKim Bailey’s 1995 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Master Oats died yesterday at the age of 26. The strapping gelding, who carried the yellow and black colours of Paul Matthews, lived a long and happy retirement in the Cotswolds after his achievements. He had provided Bailey with the second leg of an incredible Festival double after Alderbrook had taken the Champion Hurdle, while he also won the same season’s Welsh National, Rehearsal Chase and Pillar Chase. Master Oats also finishing seventh in the 1995 Grand National, and had his final start when fifth under a huge weight in the 1997 National.