Frankel to go out with a bang
Anita Chambers previews Saturday's meetings and says Frankel can go out with a bang at Ascot.
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ASCOT: 1.45 Opinion Poll, 2.20 The Cheka, 2.55 VOW (NAP), 3.30 Excelebration, 4.05 Frankel, 4.45 Well Painted.
CATTERICK: 1.40 Gallena, 2.15 Delores Rocket, 2.50 Burning Thread, 3.25 Ready, 4.00 Underwritten, 4.40 Bunce, 5.15 Talent Scout, 5.45 Blue Dune.
CHELTENHAM: 2.00 According To Trev, 2.30 Mad Moose, 3.05 Dodging Bullets, 3.40 Hold On Julio, 4.20 What An Oscar, 4.55 Jump City, 5.30 Monkey Kingdom.
CORK: 2.10 Love Is The Key, 2.40 Red Queen, 3.10 Mount McLeod, 3.45 Rock Critic, 4.20 Twilight Zone, 4.50 Emotional Dream, 5.20 Highland Miss.
KELSO: 2.05 One For Hocky, 2.40 On Broadway, 3.15 Lord Villez, 3.50 Leith Walk, 4.30 Ryton Runner, 5.05 Angel Sun, 5.40 Dundock.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.50 La Pampita, 6.20 Tiger Webb, 6.50 Celtic Step, 7.20 Mutual Regard, 7.50 Saunta, 8.20 Clubland, 8.50 Smart Affair, 9.20 Sovento.
DOUBLE: Vow and Excelebration.
All eyes will be on Frankel at Ascot on Saturday and he can bid the sport a glorious farewell in the Qipco Champion Stakes.
Unbeaten in 13 starts, Frankel has done what is virtually impossible, transcending the sport of racing and embedding his name in the wider public consciousness.
Sir Henry Cecil's colt has enjoyed a fairytale career, from beating subsequent multiple Group One winner Nathaniel on his racecourse debut to his recent demolition job on his first attempt at 10 furlongs in the International Stakes at York.
This son of Galileo has proved he can do it all and while this represents his greatest test to date, Frankel can rise to the challenge.
A soft surface would obviously not be his favoured conditions but Frankel showed he could handle it when winning on his Newmarket debut.
The testing ground may scupper a wide-margin success, but Frankel should nevertheless sign off his stellar career with another victory.
Excelebration is one who has benefited from Frankel stepping up to 10 furlongs and he can take full advantage of his absence in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
The four-year-old has finished behind Frankel five times during his career but when Cecil's wonderhorse has not featured on the start list, Excelebration has been the one to beat.
He joined the Aidan O'Brien team at the start of the year after previously being trained by Marco Botti and the Ballydoyle handler has saddled him to win two of his four starts - most recently when claiming the Jacque le Marois at Longchamp.
Excelebration had both Cityscape and Elusive Kate behind him that day and given that he meets the first-named on the same terms while John Gosden's filly is worse off at the weights, there is no real reason to expect a reverse.
Vow was slightly disappointing when beaten on her return from a lay-off at Newmarket last time out, but she could go well at a decent price in the Qipco Champion Fillies' And Mares' Stakes.
Winner of the Lingfield Oaks Trial earlier in the year, she was not disgraced finishing fourth in the main event before a busy early season started to tell when down the field at Royal Ascot.
Ten furlongs looked a bit on the sharp side on her return two weeks ago but with trainer William Haggas reportedly keen to run, Vow should be in the mix.
Opinion Poll could edge out his rivals in a trappy renewal of the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup while at the other end of the scale, The Cheka is one of the few who should like the ground in the Qipco Champions Sprint Stakes.
Burning Thread shaped with much more promise when tried in a hood at Beverley last time and is worth one last shot in the totescoop6 Catterick Dash at the North Yorkshire track.
Tiger Webb can end a near 12-month spell on the cold list in the first division of the Live Scores On Your Mobile At footballscores.com Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Dodging Bullets can make a perfect seasonal bow in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham, while Lord Villez should relish the testing ground at Kelso in the EDF-ER Fallago Rig Handicap Chase.