Frankel makes global statement with outrageous Royal Ascot victory
Frankel shows he is the world's best at Royal Ascot (AFP)
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World number one rated horse Frankel has produced one of the most stunning performances ever seen when taking out the opening race at Royal Ascot last night by a widening margin of 11 lengths.
Frankel was a heavily backed $1.10 favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes (one mile), which was his second start this season and his 11th overall in his undefeated career.
He was meeting the third best rated horse in the world, Excelebration, for a fifth time but in all previous meetings Frankel had proven superior; winning by margins spanning from just over two lengths to as much as five at their latest meeting in May.
Heading into the Queen Anne, the expectation was a Frankel victory but there remained a possibility that he could be tested on the slow good-to-soft ground.
Frankel, a four-year old colt trained by Sir Henry Cecil, was ridden quietly, covered up behind the leaders soon after the start.
He was moved into clear galloping room by jockey Tom Queally with 500 metres remaining.
With approximately 300 metres left to run, he was level with Excelebration; both horses were travelling within themselves. The race was yet to be decided.
But what unfolded next was completely baffling and astonishing.
Frankel quickly established a clear advantage of a couple of lengths before clearing out in the final furlong to win by an ever-growing margin of 11 lengths.
It was a simply stunning performance in one of the best mile races in the world.
Against, Excelebration, a horse widely acknowledged as the second-best miler in the world, Frankel was ten grades too good.
There are so many reasons why this win is remarkable but it’s the style which stands out most.
Frankel made a name for himself as a three-year old by grinding his opposition into the turf. He wasn’t ridden pretty. Tactically, he was made to do plenty of work in the early and middle stages of races.
And that is why many of his performances last season were highly regarded; because he laid the foundations for his own victories.
But last night Frankel had it made for him. When he came to make his move, he had spent no petrol. He was the fresh horse on the scene. He had enjoyed the perfect run.
For the first time, we were going to see exactly what he could do.
Frankel produced the most stunning sprint. In a three-hundred metre space, against world-class milers, Frankel put almost two seconds on his Group One opponents.
It’s something that may never have been done before at a distance and level like this.
To be a group-one miler, a horse needs to possess good speed otherwise they will not be fast enough to compete at the distance.
In gapping his well-credential rivals, Frankel showed unprecedented speed. He went to a new mark. He made fast horses look slow.
If he’d met Black Caviar last night, he would’ve beaten her by anywhere up to six or eight lengths. Even if he met her over an unfavourable sprint trip, he still would’ve made the unbeaten Australian champion mare look a mere mortal.
There is not a horse in the world that would’ve troubled Frankel last night.
He was an illustration of equine perfection; produced on the greatest stage, in front the Queen, in front of a massive live audience and at a highly acclaimed international meeting.
No matter what happens between now and the end of Frankel’s career, his win in the 2012 Queen Anne will be defining. If not of his career, then of the moment an unbeaten champion became a legend of his sport.
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