20/10/12 – Rarely has a racehorse captured the hearts of an entire country in the way that Frankel has in the last twelve months. The very popular National Hunt heroes Desert Orchid and Kauto Star spring to mind but neither created the tide of emotion witnessed at Ascot last weekend.
Trained by the ever popular Newmarket based Henry Cecil, Frankel has been ridden by Irish jockey Tom Queally in all of his races, the partnership securing their first Classic victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas in 2011. From there onwards it has been a true fairy story culminating in ten Group 1 races (nine consecutive) and nine of the Qipco British Champion Series.
Frankel was born in 2008 at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket and bred by Prince Khalid Abdulla. The winning combination of both well renowned sire Galileo and Juddmonte bred dam, Kind, produced this impressive looking bay colt who inherited his mother’s laid-back temperament. He is aptly named after one of the greatest American trainers of all time, Bobby Frankel, who died in 2009 and who had also successfully trained horses for Prince Khalid.
The Qipco Champion Stakes, Europe’s richest ten furlong race, brought Frankel together with his main rival, the French trained and next highest rated horse this year, Cirrus des Aigles. German trained Pastorius, winner of the German Derby, and Newmarket trained Master of Hounds Nathaniel, and Bullet Train (Frankel’s half-brother, stalwart pacemaker and stable companion) completed the prestigious line up. The much talked about contest was broadcast to 86 countries around the world and didn’t disappoint. Frankel’s slow and almost casual break from the stalls left pacemaker Bullet Train’s jockey looking back in angst. Mud loving Cirrus des Aigles took up much of the running with Nathaniel, the King George and Eclipse winner on his heels. Frankel settled into an easy rhythm mid race before Bullet Train picked up the pace leaving him to cruise up to the leaders about a furlong and a half from home. Any previous race nerves concerning recent rainfall and the ground quickly dispersed as Frankel took up his challenge and the crowd began to roar. With customary ease Frankel surged two lengths clear to victory – a class apart. Cirrus des Aigles battled on to take second place with Nathaniel a gallant third.
An emotional welcome from 32,000 devout fans awaited Frankel, Tom Queally and trainer Henry Cecil who has suffered ill health in the last few years. Henry tearfully claimed, “He’s the best that I have ever trained and the best that I have ever seen.”
Officially declared the highest-rated horse in the world, Frankel’s 14 career wins out of 14 races have amassed winnings now totalling £3 million.
This perfect equine athlete will now retire to stud where he was born.
By Lynn Lawson