FRANKEL’S connections will reconsider sending the celebrated colt to next month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after he extended his flawless record with an emphatic victory in the Juddmonte Stakes at York yesterday.
The Sir Henry Cecil-trained four-year-old, widely regarded as one of the greatest horses in racing history, bulldozed doubts over his ability to step up to 10 furlongs with a 13th win from 13 races.
Frankel was slowest out of the gate and then mired in the middle of the field, but kicked on with breathtaking power when asked by jockey Tom Queally two furlongs from home and won by seven lengths.
Victory in the showpiece race of the Ebor Festival, with Farhh second and St Nicholas Abbey third, earned Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah £725,000 and prompted renewed talk of the wonder-horse’s next challenge. Ascot’s Champions Day next month has been mooted as the likely setting for his final competitive outing, but Prince Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe left the door open for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“There will be a discussion and we’ll have to see,” he said. “The plan was always Ascot but we’ll have to see how he comes out of the race.”
Prince Abdullah added: “I will discuss things with Henry and it depends on what he wants to do. I didn’t think a mile and a quarter was a problem, but further than that, I’m not sure.”
Cecil ventured to York, despite a six-year battle with bowel cancer, to witness his star pupil eclipse Rock Of Gibraltar’s record of seven consecutive Group One wins.
The 69-year-old said the performance had made him feel “20 years better”, adding: “That was great, wasn’t it? It’s fantastic. It’s great for Yorkshire, they are very supportive of racing and they deserve to see him.”
Doubts had been raised about Frankel’s ability to stay beyond a mile, but Queally said his ride had been “certainly as good” over the extra quarter of a mile.
He added: “It panned out nicely. I gave them enough of a lead for the pace we were going and he won ever so well.”
FRANKEL’S RUN TO 13
■ August 2010, European Breeders’ Fund Maiden Stakes
■ Sep 2010, Frank Whittle Partnership Condition Stakes
■ Sep 2010, Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
■ Oct 2010, Dubai Dewhurst Stakes
■ April 2011, Greenham Stakes
■ April 2011, 2000 Guineass
■ June 2011, St James’s Palace Stakes
■ July 2011, Sussex Stakes
■ Oct 2011, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
■ May 2012, JLT Lockinge Stakes
■ June 2012, Queen Anne Stakes
■ Aug 2012, Sussex Stakes
■ Aug 2012, Juddmonte Int. Stakes,