Frankel set for farewell after fourteenth start
Frankel shows he is the world's best at Royal Ascot (AFP)
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On Sunday morning, Australian time, the horse racing industry will farewell a legend of racing as Frankel attempts a fourteenth straight victory in the G1 Champion Stakes at Royal Ascot before retiring to stud.
Rated by Timeform as the greatest horse since the inception of ratings, Frankel is genuinely a once in a lifetime horse who is understated by the word ‘champion’.
He is outright legendary and arguably the greatest race horse the world has ever seen.
Trained by Sir Henry Cecil, the British 4yo is unbeaten from 13 starts which have included nine G1 victories to amass over £2.2 million in prize money.
By Galileo, Frankel’s pedigree features champion sire’s Danehill, Sadler’s Wells, Rainbow Quest and Northern Dancer to be one of the most perfectly bred racehorses.
To have succeeded at the pinnacle of racing in an era which has been headlined by the names of Makybe Diva, Goldikova, Zenyatta and Black Caviar, Frankel has proved a class above them all.
Gifted with the ability to run anywhere between 1200m to 2000m, Frankel has continually beaten Europe’s best with ease.
On that summer afternoon at Royal Ascot during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, all eyes were on champion mare Black Caviar, but Frankel stole the show.
Effortlessly, his victory in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes dropped the jaws of audiences as he passed the finishing post 11 lengths ahead of Excelebration, rated the second-best miler in Europe.
In his last five starts, all G1’s, Frankel’s average winning margin is 7.6 lengths and the quality of opposition has been of the highest quality.
Champion races horses will always find ways to win, but legendary ones find ways to dominate.
His G1 victories include wins in the Dewhurst Stakes (2yo’s, 1408m), 2000 Guineas (3yo’s, 1609m), St James’s Palace Stakes (3yo’s, 1609m), Sussex Stakes (twice, WFA, 1609m), Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (WFA, 1609m), Lockinge Stakes (WFA, 1609m), Queen Anne Stakes (WFA, 1609m) and International Stakes (WFA, 2092m).
Frankel is now estimated to be worth over £100 million and by retiring as a 4yo; he will have a lengthy stud career to enjoy in the paddocks.
On Saturday, Sir Henry Cecil saddles him up for the final time when he enters the G1 Champion Stakes (WFA, 2,012m) as the firm favourite.
He will be taking on Nathaniel, French superstar and last year’s winner Cirrus Des Aigles, German champion Pastorius and Godolphin trained Farhh as the noteworthy competition in the field.
Although Frankel never won outside of Europe, those who came to him all lost. Questions over Frankel’s unknown potential will be left to imagination.
Would he have succeeded overseas? Could he have run beyond 2000m? Why didn’t he run in the Arc? Would he have beaten Secretariat or Pharlap?
As this chapter closes on Frankel’s racing career, these questions will be debated for years to come. To have been alive and see him dominating the Northern Hemisphere while Black Caviar adorned the hearts of Australians was an absolute privilege which generations to come will only dream of.
The Champion Stakes will be run on Sunday morning at 2am AEST.
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