Frankel: International superstar
Frankel soaks up the applause after another brilliant display
Frankel took his perfect career record to 13 with a facile success in the Juddmonte International Stakes.
Doubts had been expressed about the ability of the world’s highest rated thoroughbred to last home on this first attempt over 10 furlongs but, if anything, he looked even better over this longer trip than he has done over a mile.
Eddie Ahern jumped pacemaker Bullet Train out to secure the lead but was brushed aside by Ballydoyle pacesetters Robin Hood and Windsor Palace.
That pair set a frenetic gallop which Ahern wisely ignored as he settled his mount in third, about four lengths clear of the chasing St Nicholas Abbey who was ridden more prominently than earlier in the season.
Farhh tracked Joseph O’Brien’s mount with Frankel held up in rear alongside last year’s winner and stablemate Twice Over.
Robin Hood took the field along to the stands’ side with Frankel closest to the rail of the chasing pack but there were never any concerns as to whether he’d get a run as Tom Queally clearly had plenty of horse underneath him.
On A Tight Rein
O’Brien started to get to work aboard St Nicholas Abbey but if he had time to look to his right, he’d have seen the brilliant Frankel alongside still on a tight rein.
Frankel eased into the lead without being asked for his effort and when Queally let out an inch of rein inside a final furlong Sir Henry Cecil’s colt quickened clear in breathtaking style to record, arguably, the most impressive victory of his brilliant career to date.
The winning margin was seven lengths with Farhh edging out St Nicholas Abbey for second.
Frankel and Queally were accorded three cheers by the throngs gathered around the winners’ enclosure as they returned to receive their plaudits.
Queally said: “I suspected they’d go a good gallop, but we had our plan in place.
“It panned out nicely – he won ever so well. It’s a fantastic training performance.”
Queally added: “I gave them enough of a lead for the pace we were going and he won ever so well.
“He’s certainly as good (over a mile and a quarter as a mile).
“Every man and his dog seemed to want to put their penny’s worth in to say where he should run, but to run him in the owner’s race and for him to make it 13 out of 13 speaks for itself. I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
Frankel’s heroics also witnessed an emotional return to the track for the much-loved Cecil, who has been receiving ongoing treatment for cancer and has not wanted to pick up other infections.
He said: “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.”
Asked how it made him feel, the trainer said: “Twenty years better.”
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Prince Abdullah, said: “For Henry and the team to bring Frankel in such great shape to York, in front of a brilliant crowd who appreciated him, is absolutely fantastic.
“Then for the horse to perform like he did, it’s a dream, isn’t it?
“The way he just comes there and does it is simply wonderful.
“It’s hard to believe and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Although it had been widely considered his final start would be on Champions Day at Ascot on October 20, connections have not entirely shut the door on a mouthwatering trip to Longchamp for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Grimthorpe said: “He’s not in there (the Arc). Henry didn’t want him in the race and he’d have to supplemented.
“There will be a discussion and we’ll have to see.
“The plan was always Ascot (Champion Stakes or QEII) but we’ll have to see how he comes out of race.”
Of a possible tilt at the Arc, Prince Abdullah added: “I will discuss things 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.”
Farhh’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor accepted Frankel was “in a different class”.
He said: “My horse has tried very hard, but he has finished second again.
“As we knew before, the winner is in a different class to everything else.
“We have no plans for him, but we will try to find a race without Frankel.”
O’Brien was similarly pleased with St Nicholas Abbey.
He said: “The winner is an incredible horse and we’re delighted with our fellow.”