Frankel's Back Better Than Ever
Ground-eating Frankel, with Tom Queally on board, put his head
down to win JLT Lochinge Stakes by 5 lengths at Newbury.
Photo ©David Hastings
Newbury Racecourse welcomed a record crowd of 15,000 for its annual JLT Lochinge Stakes (Grade 1), 1m straight on heavy Turf.
Many of the crowd bore placards in the famous Juddmonte Farms' racing colours to support the day's main attraction Frankel (Galileo IRE), who was last year's highest-rated horse in the world and British Horse of the Year, return to racing for the first time at four after a training injury scare.
The magnificent colt draws besotted fans every time he appears - even for a gentle gallop up the Newmarket straight on Guineas day.
Mere mention that he could possibly lose the fifth of the British Champion Series brought shudders.
Britain has its chunky hero.
Only five horses competed against him in the prestigious Class 1 race. Strong Suit defected on the day.
Aidan O'Brien was a good sport in allowing his fine colt, Excelebration IRE (Exceed And Excel AUS), to compete against the horse who had already defeated him three times.
Then again Frankel has defeated every horse who raced against him in his 10 races of which six were Group 1s.
Bullet Train, three-quarter brother of Frankel, and Windsor Palace IRE played their pacesetter roles again with Dubawi Gold and Ransom Note on their own.
The ground was very testing leaving all but Bullet Train, who led a good pace, and Frankel undisturbed in second.
With the crowd shouting wildly for them, Frankel and Tom Queally made for the front about two furlongs out.
Despite the horse being a fast, good ground horse, he seemed to relish the difficult Turf while devouring it.
He clearly loves racing and defeating any challenge in his way with increased power in his fourth year.
He has matured under jockey Tom Queally with whom he has empathy. They have the 'absolute faith' relationship similar to that of Mario Gutierrez and I'll Have Another.
In the end, Excelebration took his usual second place five lengths off the winner with Dubai Gold in third, Bullet Train fourth followed by Ransom Note and Windsor Palace.
Frankel sauntered into the winner's circle with barely a damp coat. The only sign he ran a race was thirst.
Apres-race and up close to the sheer muscle power of Frankel.
Photo ©Racing International
He really is another class of a horse.
O'Brien, always gracious, congratulated Sir Henry Cecil with "Our horse is a good one, make no mistake. But Frankel is a great on. The sport needs champions like him and let's just celebrate him, whatever he does, while we can."
That is clearly Sir Henry's philosophy as well. He was relieved that Frankel is still Frankel and perhaps even better than last year.
The trainer, who is as beloved as his horse, is especially thrilled with the impact for good his colt has on racing.
Cecil has yet to make up his mind when he will increase the colt's distance from his mile to a mile and a quarter (1¼, 1m2f, 2000m).
It could be at Royal Ascot. Frankel will compete in either the mile St James' Stakes or the longer Prince of Wales' Stakes where he may face course-and-distance specialist Cirrus Des Aigles FR.
Fans are still dreaming of an unlikely race with Black Caviar in the Goodwood Stakes in August.
He could compete in the July Eclipse and the August Juddmonte International Stakes sponsored by his owner and breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah.
Whichever - he's back and on a roll.
Wonder horse Frankel flanked by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, trainer
Sir Henry Cecil (obscured behind Prince) and jockey Tom Queally.
Photo ©Racing International
©Posted May 20, 2012
Racing International http://www.racingint.com