words by THE SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP
The great Frankel’s dominant win at his first try beyond 1600m, in the Juddmonte International (2000m) at York on Wednesday, was his ninth at Group 1 and his 13th in a glorious unbeaten career. He started at 1/10.
Under Tom Queally, Frankel (b h 2008, Galileo (IRE)-Kind (IRE), by Danehill (USA)), simply outclassed placegetters Farhh (10/1) and St Nicholas Abbey (5/1), who in turn outclassed the other six runners (three of whom were there to set the pace).
The manner in which Frankel handled the extra distance had commentators musing that the champion would handle the 2400m of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris if trainer Sir Henry Cecil and owner Sheikh Khalid Abdullah set him for it. Bookmakers posted him as short as 1/4 for the October race.
In the meantime, Inside Racing magazine discusses in depth the race the world wants to see-Frankel versus the world’s best sprinter, Australia’s unbeaten Black Caviar.
In the September edition (out next week), experts, including Les Carlyon, Jim McGrath, Timeform’s Gary Crispe, Steve Moran and David Raphael tell who they believe would win a hypothetical race over 1400m around a corner.
Black Caviar, with a 22-22 record that includes a win at the Royal Ascot meeting in England in June, is spelling and may resume next year; Frankel, however, will continue his work at Newmarket in the following weeks, whether it is aimed at the Arc or another race.
Newmarket trainer John Berry, well known to Australian readers through his international roundup in the Winning Post, sees Frankel regularly at work as well as at the races.
His view on a Frankel-Black Caviar clash is shown here as a ‘taster’ to the Inside Racingfeature:
“I used to think that Black Caviar had one extra weapon that Frankel lacked: straightforwardness. Such a quality is very useful in a match where tactics can be decisive. However, this season it has become apparent that Frankel is now a relaxed, professional and tractable galloper, as well as a supremely talented one.
“On that basis, and because I think that he’s the best horse around at any distance from 1200m to 2400m, I’d give him the nod.
“Don’t be put off by the fact that (before the Juddmonte) Frankel has never raced at shorter than 1400m nor longer than 1600m: he’d be far more versatile than he’s been asked to show himself to be.
“For reasons that are not clear, Henry Cecil has no interest in short-distance racing. Even though he has been training top-class horses since the late 1960s, he has never trained the winner of a top sprint – simply because he never runs his good horses in such races.
“But that doesn’t mean that he’s never trained a fast horse. And Frankel (whose dam was an out-and-out five-furlong filly) is the fastest of them all.”
How do the other experts vote? See Inside Racing – to get your copy call The Slattery Media Group on (03) 9627 2600 or visit http://thethoroughbred.com.au/subscribe