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Wonder horse Frankel set to dominate at York Racecourse
11:08am Wednesday 22nd August 2012 in Sport
UNDEFEATED Frankel will today face a new challenge as he tackles a mile and a quarter for the first time in his impeccable career this afternoon, writes Jack Keene.
Frankel, the highest rated racehorse in the world, has so far dispatched every rival that has taken him on, scooping eight Group 1 prizes in the process.
The feature race on day one of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival is the £725,000 Juddmonte International Stakes. With no less than four Group 1 winners in the line-up, it is a high class renewal. But that hasn’t affected Frankel’s price, however, as he is likely to go off as short as the 1-8 favourite.
Perhaps the chief threat to Sir Henry Cecil’s super horse is the Aidan O’Brien trained St Nicholas Abbey. The five-year-old has won numerous top level races, all at around a mile and half. The drop to a mile and a quarter would be the main concern that the team from Ireland hold. Nevertheless with St Nicholas Abbey’s stamina assured over this trip, he could pose a threat to Frankel if this race was made into a true endurance test.
Frankie Dettori will wear the Godolphin blue this afternoon as he tries to gain revenge for Farrh’s emphatic loss to Frankel at Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes at the start of August. Farrh has
proved himself to be Group 1 class with fantastic placed efforts in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Coral Eclipse at Sandown. The one mile trip which he raced over against
Frankel last time wasn’t ideal and the step back up to a mile and a quarter today is a plus. Considering the ease with which Frankel brushed Farrh’s challenge aside at the Sussex track, however, he
would have to improve dramatically to trouble the ‘Usain Bolt’ of horse racing.
Sir Henry Cecil and owner Prince Khalid Abdullah struck gold in this race last year when the gallant Twice Over got his head in front of wonder mare Midday, and last year’s hero will turn out again today to defend his crown. While Twice Over’s form this year has left him a long way short of what will be required to succeed today, he is not one to write off as he has a record of two wins from four runs at York and is a tough experienced campaigner to boot.
Prince Khalid Abdullah, who also owns Frankel, has sponsored this race for 22 years now and although winning his own race with Twice Over last season would’ve been one of the highlights of his illustrious time as an owner, if he were to win with arguably the greatest Flat horse of time it could eclipse any achievement he has secured to date.
Planteur is the final Group One winner to make the field and, although he has not shown anything like his three or four-year-old form as a five-year-old, he could very easily run on into a place if fully tuned up by his Newmarket based trainer, Marco Botti.
All opposition considered this is not the strongest field that Frankel has faced during his competitive life. He has the ability to move up a gear and sustain a relentless gallop which other horses can’t cope with. Regular jockey, Tom Queally, will be aiming to settle the son of Galileo into a nice rhythm where he isn’t sapping too much energy early on and try to deliver his killer turn of foot at a slightly later stage than normal.
The day belongs to Frankel, and everything is set for him to emphasise what a true champion he is.