The world’s highest ranked racehorse Frankel will retire to stud undefeated after winning the Group 1 £1.3m The QIPCO Champion Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Ascot last Saturday.
Frankel pulled the curtain down on his illustrious racing career with his fourteenth win from as many starts but not before missing the start and throwing the pre-race plan out the window.
The Sir Henry Cecil trained superstar was last of the small six horse field to leave the barriers which left Ian Mongan on stablemate and pacemaker Bullet Train in two minds as to take up the front or manoeuvre his mount to give Frankel some cover.
Mongan had several sustained looks around in the early stages of the race before letting Bullet Train stride to the front and set up a handy pace coming to the home turn.
Tom Queally on Frankel didn’t panic on the champion and started his move from the three furlong mark and gathered in runner-up Cirrus Des Aigles just outside the furlong maker and edged away to maintain his perfect race record.
“He’s just getting more and more relaxed as time goes on. He waited until the gates were open, then he was away. I was happy all the way, but there’s no doubt he’s better on better ground. His class showed today,” Queally said.
There was some concern with the soft track conditions going into Saturday’s race, but Frankel proved that he was up to the task and handled the wet surface with his usual dominance.
“I walked the track and I was a little worried about the conditions. Having walked it in the home straight I knew it wasn’t too heavy for him to quicken up,” Queally said.
“You want every angle covered and everything in your favour, so in that respect there was always a little worry, but he was in great heart today and he looked a lot better than he did 12 months ago on this day. He was so good today, even on that ground.”
Cecil will dearly miss having Frankel in his stable after training the best horse to come under his care and the best he has ever seen in his long successful training career.
“He didn’t like the ground much, but he was very relaxed. He’s the best I’ve ever had. He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I’d be surprised if there’s ever been any better,” Cecil said.
Frankel will retire to owner Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, undefeated from fourteen starts, ten Group 1 wins and £2,998,301 in prizemoney.
Racing manager for Abdullah Teddy Grimthrope said that Frankel’s list of mares for his first season at stud had not been finalised but guaranteed that it would be first class.
“What we can say is that our very best mares, if they think they might be suited to Frankel, will certainly go there. We have liaised with Henry. Frankel will be let down now and the real point will be to get him to the stage when he’s relaxed and he’s going to get used to a different life,” Grimthorpe said.
“That will take a week or so, maybe longer, until everyone’s happy and then he’ll come over to Banstead.”