Frankel - the story of a Champion
Frankel, the world's best racehorse, successfully defended his unbeaten 14-race record in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot and will now be retired.
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Here we chart the dazzling career of the Sir Henry Cecil-trained superstar:
1) EBF Maiden Stakes, Newmarket, August 13, 2010
Cecil picks a low-key starting point for his Galileo colt, who is named in memory of the great American trainer Bobby Frankel. Punters do not miss the hint, though, and Frankel is sent off the 7-4 favourite to make a winning bow and the manner of his comfortable half-length verdict marks him as one to follow. The merit of that victory becomes all the more clear the following season as runner-up Nathaniel bags the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
2) Frank Whittle Partnership Conditions Stakes, Doncaster, September 10, 2010
With only serious rival Farhh withdrawn, Frankel scored something of a penalty kick on Town Moor but the 13-length verdict told its own story. With Tom Queally barely having to move a muscle, Frankel accelerated clear to oblige as the 1-2 favourite. The quiet excitement is noticeable in Cecil afterwards.
3) Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes, Ascot, September 25, 2010
Stepping up to a mile for the first time, Frankel raced keenly off a slow early pace before Queally gave him an inch of rein to sweep clear of the field on the turn for home. Frankel merely gained momentum from there with Queally using just hands and heels to storm home by 10 lengths.
4) Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, October 16, 2010
Possibly the most eagerly-awaited juvenile race of recent years, Frankel faced his first true test as he lined up against dual Group One winner Dream Ahead and the unbeaten Saamidd. An early bump out of the stalls prompted him to race keenly but he was firmly in control from the halfway point. Although he demonstrated a little inexperience in edging right in the final furlong, Queally again barely needed to earn his riding fee as the duo coasted home by two and a quarter lengths.
5) totesport.com Greenham Stakes, Newbury, April 16, 2011
Punters were looking for an arresting performance as the 2000 Guineas made his seasonal bow, but despite rumours that Frankel had been good enough to outpace a passing train on the gallops, his supporters had to settle for a merely workmanlike success. With a pacemaker in the field to aid his cause, Frankel still proved too quick and was in front after three furlongs, perhaps racing more keenly than Queally would have liked. Excelebration tried to serve it up to him at the finish but Frankel showed his winning attitude as he prevailed by four lengths, although in hardly electrifying style on this occasion.
6) Qipco 2000 Guineas, Newmarket, April 30, 2011
While Frankel failed to set the world alight at Newbury, he rendered the majority of spectators on the Rowley Mile speechless after a virtuoso Classic win. An outside draw meant he had to do it from the front and some felt Queally may have overegged the pudding as Frankel was seven lengths clear at halfway. His rivals toiled in behind to try to cut the margin but Frankel's stride did not falter and the colt came home a clear six-length victor in one of the most breathtaking Classic performances in history.
7) St James's Palace Stakes, Royal Ascot, June 11, 2011
Frankel was expected to dominate what was a fascinating renewal of the mile heat, but had to dig deep on what was possibly a rare off-day. His pacemaker blazed away in front and Queally tried to avoid following a suicidal pace whilst not getting boxed in. Frankel assumed control three furlongs out but the distress signals appeared to be in evidence a furlong out and he had to work hard to repel the late thrust of Zoffany by three-quarters of a length. Connections insisted that he had perhaps idled rather than tired, but some saw this as a sign Frankel could be beaten.
8) Qipco Sussex Stakes, Goodwood, July 27, 2011
Billed as the 'Duel on the Downs', Frankel was expected to meet his toughest task yet as he clashed with Canford Cliffs, the 2010 champion over a mile. The pair scared off all but two rivals in the Glorious Goodwood feature, with the race essentially a match event. Queally was expected to employ waiting tactics this time but circumstances dictated that Frankel made his own pace - a factor which was viewed as a positive for Canford Cliffs. But the latter proved no match as Frankel demonstrated a stunning turn of pace approaching the furlong pole, leaving his year older rival standing. The five-length verdict was more than just visually impressive and although excuses were offered for Canford Cliffs, there was no doubt over which horse was superior.
9) Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Ascot, October 15, 2011
Five individual Group One winners lined up in the traditional autumn showdown, including three of the four best milers in Europe. All had to doff their caps to Frankel as he once again worked up the gears for a four-length success. Frankel was once more provided with a pacemaker but again that tempo proved false as Queally chose to sit behind Dick Turpin as Bullet Train blazed away in front.
Frankel closed on his pace-setting stablemate between the three and two-furlong markers and when Queally gave the signal with a furlong still to run, the writing was on the wall and Frankel confirmed himself as the undisputed star of 2011.
10) JLT Lockinge Stakes, Newbury, May 19, 2012
Frankel took his score over old adversary Excelebration to 4-0 in familiar fashion. His galloping companion Bullet Train set off in front until Queally decided it was time for his companion to go about his business. The race was over in a flash as Cecil's superstar flew away to put Excelebration to the sword by five lengths. It was an awesome performance, and even more remarkable considering Frankel suffered a leg injury just over a month earlier that had put his career in some doubt.
11) Queen Anne Stakes, Royal Ascot, June 19, 2012
Beginning the Royal meeting with a bang, Frankel showed that he is getting better with each race landing odds of 1-10 in imperious fashion. For a while Queally looked short of room, but with three furlongs to run the jockey made a move to find himself some space and the race was over. Yet again Excelebration set out in pursuit, but when Queally gave the signal, Frankel lengthened effortlessly away to triumph by 11 lengths, leaving onlookers lost for words.
12) Qipco Sussex Stakes, Glorious Goodwood, August 1, 2012
This time a 1-20 chance and facing just two serious opponents, including Farhh, the result was never in doubt at any stage as he travelled menacingly through the early stages behind old friend Bullet Train. Asked to quicken just over a furlong out, the response was immediate as he slammed the high-class Farhh by six lengths without breaking sweat.
13) Juddmonte International Stakes, York, August 22, 2012
In perhaps the most eagerly anticipated race of his career to date, Frankel moved up from a mile to a mile and a quarter for the first time. Ridden with more patience than had been the case in recent starts, he switched to the stands' rail in the home straight and the writing was on the wall for his opponents. The strong-travelling St Nicholas Abbey did his best to stay with Frankel, but the world's greatest horse soon left him and the rest for dead on his way to a seven-length triumph over Farrh.
14) Qipco Champion Stakes, Ascot, October 20, 2012
A short time after his oft-vanquished foe Excelebration dazzled in the QEII, Frankel was cheered into the paddock for the Champion Stakes. Although he went down to post like a pony, he appeared to be napping in the stalls and was slowly away, losing a couple of lengths. Soon on terms, he adopted his customary cruising position but Cirrus Des Aigles threw down the gauntlet over two furlongs out. Queally did not panic, however, and moved to the front over a furlong out. The race was effectively over from there and while the French ace did not go down without a fight, a cosy length and three-quarters provided the result everyone had hoped for.