Frankel on film: Magnificent seven
We look through the Racing UK and At The Races video archives and pick out seven of Frankel's finest performances.
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Verdict: This was the most eagerly-awaited two-year-old race for many a year with FRANKEL, Dream Ahead and Saamidd all coming into the race with unbeaten records and big reputations. Only the winner's came out unscathed as Dream Ahead and Saamidd both ran below par, with the former's jockey William Buick immediately blaming the 'loose ground' for his effort. However, though Frankel's previous performances have been labelled all style and no substance the naysayers will have difficulty crabbing this form. Despite pulling hard early on he quickly asserted control under Tom Queally and pulled clear of the Ballydoyle colt Roderic O'Connor who dictated the race from the stands' rail, which looked the quickest part of the track. 2-1 for the 2000 Guineas before the race, quotes of 5-4 cannot be argued with and he'll be long odds-on if all is sound in early May. Beautifully bred, he looks the real deal and while this was understandably more workmanlike than his previous efforts in lesser company he still made fairly light work of a top-class field.
Verdict: FRANKEL produced a quite astonishing performance to blow his rivals away to confirm all the evident promise of his juvenile season and silence the naysayers. The detractors or those merely playing devil's advocate had pointed to his getting a little worked up and racing keenly and that he momentarily looked to be struggling in the Greenham against an inferior rival. Picture Editor had run in the Greenham as a pacemaker but couldn't go quickly enough for his stablemate and Rerouted was expected to play the same role here. Connections had come up with a different plan though and allowed Frankel to set his own gallop and settle in front; Tom Queally had soon built up a clear advantage and it was remarkable how well he was travelling with his rivals toiling behind. The question then was whether he could maintain this astonishing show of speed to the line or whether the exertions would take their toil but the result was never in doubt as one by one his rivals cried enough.
Verdict: A small but select field featuring the two outstanding milers in Europe with the year younger FRANKEL coming out firmly on top after another quite remarkable performance to help cement his place in the pantheon of all-time greats. Tom Queally had received the lion's share of the blame in many quarters for a performance that fell below expectations in the St James's Palace Stakes but proved that his confidence hadn't been affected with a faultless display. Frankel appears to be maturing mentally with each outing, going to post more calmly than has often been the case, and settling perfectly in the race, something which he hadn't always done earlier in his career and, arguably, led to the dramatic tactics employed in the Guineas; both his trainer and jockey deserve huge credit for achieving this. Connections would have preferred a lead but knew that this was unlikely and were prepared to go on. Queally initially set a steady gallop before gradually increasing the tempo and turning the screw bit by bit and it wasn't until just over a furlong from home that he asked him the question, to which the response was instantaneous and quite stunning. The winning margin certainly didn't flatter Frankel and it took Tom Queally a long time to pull him up suggesting that there was plenty left in the tank while offering plenty of encouragement to those who believe that he'll stay ten furlongs. However, connections indicated that the Prix Jacques le Marois or Queen Elizabeth II Stakes were likelier targets than the Juddmonte International with Ascot looking like the preferred option and his final race of the campaign before returning as a four year old. Quite how far he can go is hard to assess as he has hardly been challenged in his eight race career and the future is hugely exciting with both his trainer and owner describing him as the best horse that they have ever had.
Verdict: The performance that everyone, or nearly everyone, had hoped for was realised as FRANKEL maintained his unbeaten record with another spectacular display despite events not really going according to plan. He jumped a little slowly, no doubt by design, but pulled for his head in the first two furlongs as Tom Queally struggled to get him settled. Ian Mongan tried to suck the field into following him on Bullet Train, steadying his mount a fraction before quickening but he failed to pull the wool over his rivals eyes and the pacemaker was more or less ignored leaving Dick Turpin to take the main pack along. Queally started to make his move having passed the five pole and Excelebration, Poet's Voice and Side Glance were immediately switched by their jockeys to stalk the favourite in a fascinating deployment of tactics. Frankel made up the ground on Bullet Train with ease although Queally had to shake his reins at the colt with a quarter of a mile to run as Immortal Verse joined Excelebration and Poet's Voice on his heels. There was a fraction of a moment when it looked as though he might not pick up but Frankel was into his stride passing the furlong pole and powered away in the straight to record another emphatic success. His connections report that he is getting stronger, more professional and more tractable and the sky is the limit for this unbeaten son of Galileo who should have little difficulty getting ten furlongs next season on this evidence.
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Verdict: The superlatives ran out many months ago but once again FRANKEL raised the bar with a simply breathtaking display. He took up his customary position in the early stages just behind the front rank as stable companion Bullet Train cut out the pacemaking duties. He edged to the right of the latter with three furlongs to run to get a clear sight of the front as Excelebration managed to match strides with him until the quarter-mile pole. A quick shake of the reins by Tom Queally got his mount to lengthen and the race was over as a contest - it was just a matter of how far he would win by. The distance was 11 lengths at the line as Sir Henry Cecil's assessment that he continues to improve as he matures was highlighted in no uncertain terms. The options for him now are another crack at the Sussex Stakes and/or the step up to 10 furlongs for the Juddmonte International at York. The Knavesmire could see a mouthwatering showdown with impressive Epsom Derby hero Camelot and even that rival may end up wondering which way Frankel has gone.
Verdict: FRANKEL took his perfect career record to 13 with a facile success in the Juddmonte International Stakes. Doubts had been expressed about the ability of the world's highest rated thoroughbred to last home on this first attempt over 10 furlongs but, if anything, he looked even better over this longer trip than he had over a mile. As a result, the clamouring for him to now be aimed towards the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe has already begun but Sir Henry Cecil has indicated that the Champion Stakes at Ascot remains the preferred option but the door remains ajar.
Verdict: All good things must come to an end and FRANKEL bowed out in style, unbeaten in 14 races. He overcame heavy ground, a tardy start and the formidable Cirrus Des Aigles with a performance that even had the Queen roaring her approval from the Royal Box. Tom Queally was reluctant to return to the winners' enclosure, knowing this was the last time he'd be aboard his incredible partner. They were some team. Magnificent.