Frankel, 2012 Lockinge Stakes: Live race updates, blog
World-number one racehorse Frankel makes his 2012 debut on Sunday morning in the Group One Lockinge Stakes (one mile) at Newbury, England. Join us for live race updates and a blog in the lead-up to the 12:40am AEST start time.
Frankel, not seen since last October’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, is aiming for the tenth win of his undefeated career and enters the Lockinge as a hot favourite – at the relatively generous odds of 4/11 or $1.36 – to defeat his six rivals.
The Sir Henry Cecil trained galloper had the Lockinge (won in recent years by the likes of Hawk Wing, Rakti, Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs) earmarked as his return to the racetrack for some time.
But those plans were put on hold last month when Frankel suffered a leg injury during morning trackwork.
After scans came up clear, the champion miler was given the green light to resume in the May feature.
Frankel will progress from the Lockinge to the mile Queen Anne on the opening day of Royal Ascot in one month before starting in the mile Sussex Stakes on August 1 where he could clash with Australian wonder Black Caviar.
Frankel faces only one serious threat in this race and that comes in the form of equal world-number three rated galloper Excelebration.
Excelebration was transferred to Aiden O’Brien’s Ballydoyle operation (making him a stablemate to dual Cox Plate winner So You Think) at the end of last year and returned with a big win at Group Three level in Ireland last month.
Excelebration has met with Frankel on three occasions previously and the best he could do was get within two and a half lengths of the colt in last year’s St James’ Palace Stakes when Tom Queally made his move on Frankel before halfway.
In two other meetings with Frankel, Excelebration has finished a four-length second.
Excelebration’s best performance is an unconvincing Group One win over Rio De La Plata in the Moulin de Longchamp over a mile in Paris last year. Rio De La Plata was one of three competitors completely destroyed by Frankel in the 2011 Sussex Stakes.
Amongst the other competitors in the Lockinge is Dubawi Gold who was smashed on three occasions by Frankel in 2011 and has failed to finish closer than nine lengths off the winner in two starts this year; and Windsor Palace who beat Breeders’ Cup Turf winner St Nicholas Abbey at 66/1 (it followed a fourth to Excelebration) two weeks ago at The Curragh in Ireland.
If Frankel returns in his usual form he quite simply should be winning. I expect Excelebration to account for the rest of the field quite comfortably.